As many as 27 crew members of the Offshore Support
Vessel, Coastal Jaguar which caught fire off the Visakhapatnam coast on August
12 were rescued by the Coast Guard. The body of a crew member found floating
near the vessel was recovered while one more is still missing when reports last
came in from the Port.
According to the Indian Coast Guard, about 29 crew
and workers were present on board at the time of the incident, and 27 were
rescued. While one body was found floating in the water, another person is said
to be missing. Search is on to trace him.
The deceased person was identified as Ashish
Kumar of Rajasthan while the missing person was identified as Vicky Chauhan of
Uttar Pradesh, according to local police.
Of the 27 rescued, 15 suffered burns. While five
were discharged after treatment, 10 have been admitted to a local hospital with
50 to 60 percent burns, and one of them who received 90 per cent burns is said
to be critical.
The incident occurred at 11.30 hours about one to
two nautical miles from the mouth of the Visakhapatnam harbor and one nautical
mile from the Coast.
Fighting fire on a ship is a different ball game,
as there are fuel tanks that can explode and the body is made of steel, which
heats up easily
a loud explosion, crew and workers jump into the sea
According to initial reports, there was a loud
explosion on board the vessel, thereafter the vessel was engulfed in thick
flames. All the crew and workers jumped into the sea, abandoning the ship
according to reports.
Indian Coast Ship Rani Rashmoni, which was
on patrolling duty in the vicinity rushed to the spot and in coordination with
Visakhapatnam Port Trust boats and Coastal Security Police, rescued the 27 crew
members and workers.
ICGS Ship Samudra Paheredar, Coast Guard
helicopter and ICGS C-432 (Fast interceptor), were pressed into service for
rescue operation and dousing the fire.
According to Coast Guard sources water and foam
were used to douse the fire and it took over eight hours to bring the flames
operation; rescuing the crew and fighting fire at once
“It was an extremely difficult operation, as the
sea was rough and on the one hand we had to rescue the crew and on the other
hand we were engaged in fire fighting. Fighting fire on a ship is a different
ball game, as there are fuel tanks that can explode and the body is made of
steel, which heats up easily. But braving the odds, the coastguards rescued 27
of them and handed them over to the Port authorities. We fished out one body
and search is on for the missing man according to the sources.
The Mumbai-based offshore supply vessel was in
the dry dock till recently in Visakhapatnam and was on trial run on August 12th,
after a 40-day refit and overhaul. The ship was on contract to Hindustan Petroleum
Though it is still early to assess the cause of
fire, sources say that there was an explosion in the engine room, which might
have triggered the fire.