An official on Tuesday informed that the Indian Navy has rescued 146 people on board a barge that went adrift in the Arabia Sea near Mumbai hours before Cyclone Tauktae made landfall on the Gujarat coast.
"The Search and Rescue (SAR) operations continued throughout the night and a total of 146 persons from Barge P305 have been rescued till 6 am on Tuesday, 111 by INS Kochi and INS Kolkata, 17 by Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) Greatship Ahilya and 18 by OSV Ocean Energy whilst operating in extremely challenging sea conditions," the official said.
The Navy on Tuesday morning also deployed the P-8I long-range, multimission maritime patrol aircraft to join the search and rescue operations, the official added.
The barge 'Gal Constructor' with 137 persons on board has run aground about 48 nautical miles north of Colaba Point.
An Emergency Towing Vessel 'Water Lily', two support vessels and CGS Samrat are in the vicinity for rendering assistance and evacuation of crew, a Navy spokesperson said.
"INS Talwar is proceeding to assist another oil rig Sagar Bhushan with 101 personnel on board and an accommodation barge SS-3 with 196 personnel on board, both of which are adrift and presently located about 50 NM South East of Pipavav Port," the spokesperson said in a statement.
"These ongoing rescue efforts have been augmented today morning by an Indian Naval P8I surveillance aircraft.
Navy helicopters will also be deployed for SAR based on weather conditions.
The SAR efforts will continue through the day with more naval assets ready to augment the ongoing operations," he said.
The Navy had on Monday deployed three frontline warships after receiving messages to rescue 410 people on board two barges off the Mumbai coast.
The ships deployed to extend assistance to the two barges were INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Talwar.
"On receipt of a request for assistance for barge 'P305' adrift off Heera oil fields in Bombay high area with 273 personnel onboard, INS Kochi was swiftly sailed on Monday with a despatch for search and rescue assistance," the Navy officer said.
The oil fields are around 70 km southwest of Mumbai.
With PTI inputs