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Cargo ship sinks off Karwar

Pushpa Iyengar
Wednesday, May 31, 2006 00:21 IST

PANAJI: A Singapore-registered cargo ship MV Ocean Seraya sank off the Karwar coast early on Tuesday after its hull hit rocks in the choppy Arabian Sea, a Coast Guard official said.

“While 21 of the 22-member crew were rescued in a seven-hour operation, one of them - second officer Azi Juvale, 29, from Thane was washed away in the rough sea while he was getting into a life boat that was lowered to take the crew to the shore,” Coast Guard deputy inspector general R M Sharma said. The Coast Guard made several sorties looking for Juvale, but could not find him.

The 230-metre merchant vessel, weighing about 75,000 tonnes, was on its way to the Karwar port late on Monday to load manganese ore for export. As heavy rains and rough sea prevented the crew from sighting the lighthouse on the coast, the ship dropped anchor in the mid-sea, about three nautical miles from the shore.

“The two-deck ship, however, started drifting in a different direction and ran aground after hitting the rocks. Even as the ill-fated ship began to gradually sink, a distress call from the crew helped us in rushing the rescue teams from Panaji by one Chetak helicopter and six patrol boats,” Sharma said. Sharma added that despite 60 km per hour winds, the helicopter carried out several sorties to rescue the crew that included Captain Ram Sevak Sharma and his wife.

Of the rescued, 14 have been admitted to the Karwar Port Trust hospital and the remaining nine are being treated on board the INS Kadamba of the Navy. A majority of the crewmembers were mainly from the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala.

“Though we did not encounter any problem till we sailed to the Indian shores, we were caught off guard by the surging sea, strong winds and incessant rains due to the vigorous south-west monsoon that hit coastal Karnataka two days in advance,” one of the crew said.
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