New Delhi: A ship with over 322 passengers and 85 crew members was safely towed by a coast guard vessel to Androth island on Thursday morning, a day after it got stranded off the coast of Lakshadweep.
The welfare officer of the ship — MV Kavaratti — told PTI that all passengers were safe and sound, and those who were bound for Androth were disembarked there.
The remaining passengers, who were going to other islands of the archipelago, would be transferred to MV Corals which would ferry them to their destinations, the welfare officer, Sharshad, said.
One of the passengers, Sameer Babu of Androth, told PTI that there was no back-end support like food and water from the Lakshadweep administration or the mainland while the ship was stranded in the high seas for over six hours on Wednesday.
Babu, who was returning home from Kochi on the ship, said it was the vessel’s crew who took care of the passengers and ”they are our real heroes”.
The passenger ship was stranded on the high seas about 16 nautical miles from Kavaratti on Wednesday after a fire broke out in its engine room and the engine had to be shut down after extinguishing the flames, sources had said.
The ship was en route to Androth from Kavaratti, where it had arrived on Monday from Kochi with over 600 passengers when the incident occurred, they said.
By Thursday morning, the stranded vessel was towed to port by coast guard ship Samarth.
In a statement, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said a major fire in the engine room of the MV Kavaratti with 624 passengers and 85 crew on board was reported to the Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, by the Lakshadweep Development Corporation Ltd.
”The fire was brought under control by the alert crew of the ship and ICG Ship Samarth deployed in area was promptly diverted to render assistance. MV Kavaratti was boarded by a specialist team of Samarth 30 nautical miles off Kavaratti Island,” the statement noted.
The vessel was found to be non-operational since the engines couldn’t be used for further propulsion, it mentioned.
”Moreover, due to generator failure onboard, owing to the fire, the shell door couldn’t be operated for safe and expeditious evacuation of all passengers and hence Coast Guard Ship decided to tow the vessel to Androth for positioning all the crew and passengers at safe location,” it said.