Mumbai: The Mumbai Police have registered a case against the captain of the barge which sank in the Arabian Sea during Cyclone Tauktae. So far more than 49 lives have been lost in the barge disaster. More than 25 are still missing with the chances of their survival very slim. Rahman Shaikh, chief engineer of the barge said Thursday that the captain did not take the cyclone warning seriously. It led to the death of at least 49 crew members.
Shaikh said in a video shot by his brother Aalam that Balwinder Singh, the captain, insisted that wind speeds will not be very high. The captain also said the cyclonic storm will last only for an hour.
“The captain said the wind will not go over 40 knots (about 75 kmph). It will start at 11 and end at 12. The entire incident happened because of the captain and client,” the 48- year-old Shaikh said in the video, shared by Aalam.
It should be stated that Balwinder is among the 26 people still missing. He is said to have jumped into the waters without a life jacket.
Mumbai’s Yellow Gate police station registered the case under sections 304(II) (an act done with knowledge that it is likely to cause death), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). However, no one is aware as to what will come about in the case.
Afcons Infrastructure leads the consortium that had chartered the barge. It said the captain of P305 chose to stay in the sea along with his crew. This happened despite receiving instructions to return to the Mumbai harbour in the wake of Cyclone Tauktaw.
Afcons Infrastructure, the engineering arm of Shapoorji Pallonji Group, also claimed it has followed all standard practices.
“On May 14 itself, all our vessels were advised to secure their respective work locations and move to safety at the earliest. Accordingly, all vessels and barges, including Pappa 305 (P305), began moving back on May 14-15,” it said.
“While all other barges moved to Mumbai port/Mumbai outer anchorage/ anchorage close to Revandanda, the master of P305 chose to move 200 miles away from the HT platform where the barge was working, and to remain at that location, deciding this as a safe location since the maximum wind speed predicted was only 40 knots and his location was 120 nautical miles away from the eye of the tropical storm. Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated rapidly from the evening of May 16, reaching levels far worse than predicted May 17. This sudden deterioration left no time at all for any further action to be taken by the P305 vessel master,” the statement said.