A Coast Guard official said, “Search and rescue operations are on for the crew who decided to abandon the ship.” Earlier, cyclone Nilam crossed the Tamil Nadu coast north of Chennai between Mamallapuram and Kalpak-kam with strong winds battering the area.
The official said that still “fifteen members of the crew are on the ship”. Efforts have been stepped up to rescue them. For reasons yet not known, out of these 37 people, 22 members of the crew decided to abandon the ship in a life boat, said officials of Coast Guard and the Chennai Port Trust.
Unfortunately, the life boat capsized with the crew. Out of the 22 who left the ship on the life boat, 16 people were rescued and admitted to an hospital. The fate of six people is not known, officials said. “Sixteen people were brought here out of which one was brought dead. Three people are in the ICU,” said S Narasimhan, senior executive, patient care.
A Chennai Port Trust official said Pratibha Cauvery can be used like a life boat in a condition like this and it is not known why the crew came down on another boat.
“We are in the process of gathering information. We also do not know why the crew came down in a life boat,” said Nilkanth, director at Pratibha Shipping.
According to a Chennai Port official, Pratibha Cauvery was proceeding to Mumbai after discharging its cargo at the port. The ship returned as it was called back by the Chennai Port on Oct 8.