In a sea-air coordinated search and rescue operation, the Indian Coast Guard rescued 11 crew members of Merchant Vessel ITT Panther, which sank in North-East part of Bay of Bengal, 400 km from Port Blair yesterday, according to a release from the Coast Guard.
On receipt of distress message at Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (Port Blair), Indian Coast Guard swiftly launched the rescue operation to save precious lives at stake. Coast Guard Aircraft was launched immediately to locate the crew members adrift at sea and Indian Coast Guard Ships Rajkamal and Bhikaji Cama were sailed out from Diglipur and Port Blair respectively for the rescue of crew.
The CG Aircraft successfully located the crew members and directed the ship to the position for effecting rescue. All persons were successfully picked up by ICGS Rajkamal in the late afternoon hours. Post rescue, all crew members were provided medical attention and were stabilised. The rescue operation was undertaken by the ships, braving the inclement weather with strong monsoon winds blowing across and waves rising as high as 3-4 metres in the choppy seas. The ship will arrive with all rescued crew members at Port Blair today.
The vessel MV ITT Panther was a general cargo vessel plying between the ports of Kolkata and Port Blair. It had left Kolkata on 15th July with a consignment of construction material and container cargo and was scheduled to arrive at Port Blair yesterday evening. However, in the early morning hours, the vessel developed dangerous tilt due shifting of cargo in rough monsoon weather conditions. When situation became critical, the crew raised distress alert and decided to abandon the vessel in life rafts. Subsequently, the vessel sank in same position and all crew were drifting in life raft.
At the time of sinking, the vessel was carrying General Cargo in 29 containers besides, 500 MT of sand and 200 Mt of steel for Port Blair. As part of its charter of duties, the Coast Guard carries out search and rescue operations at sea and the number of these missions increases considerably during the monsoons. In 2017 alone, Coast Guard MRCC has saved 33 precious lives in 18 missions undertaken at sea.