SCI vessel sinks 175 km off Mumbai coast, crew safe

A Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) vessel sank off the coast of Mumbai Tuesday evening. All 15 crew members were rescued by a ship sailing close by. According to sources, SCI Ratan, an offshore support vessel, was commissioned in 2011. Around 5.30 pm Tuesday, flooding was reported in the main engine room, and by 7.30 pm the ship sunk in Bombay High, around 175 km from Mumbai.

“The crew were rescued by another SCI ship, which was pressed immediately after a distress call was made (by SCI Ratan). It was a ship-to-ship rescue operation,” said an official privy to the details. The Indian Coast Guard, which is monitoring the situation, said it would assess the situation in the morning. For the maritime security agency, there are two main concerns — if there has been an oil leak and if the ship was carrying any cargo that was hazardous in nature.

“We are in touch with the authorities concerned and have been appraised about the rescue operations. We are still trying to get details on the movement of the ship since it was an offshore vessel whether it was returning from the oil rigs or was ferrying any material to the rigs. The nature of the cargo on board the vessel is also a major point of concern for us. However, we would be able to assess if there has been any oil leak only in daylight,” said a senior official. The ICG will also request the SCI to share details pertaining to the movement of the ship, and the circumstances that lead to the accident.

Malini Shankar, Director General, Shipping, said the SCI would inquire into the reasons for the vessel to suddenly sink. “It was new vessel, not a decrepit one,” she said.

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