The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) suspended its three executive directors as part of an ongoing high-level enquiry into the chain of incidents at Bombay High during Cyclone Tauktae that led to the death of 86 workers in the Arabian Sea and endangered the lives of hundreds more.
All the three senior officials are executive directors in charge of drilling, safety and executive exploration, respectively. They have been suspended to conduct a fair and free investigation issued by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
There were 261 persons onboard Afcons' Barge P-305, which lost anchor and hit an unmanned installation before capsizing.Caught in high velocity winds and swelling sea, all the anchors of the Barge P-305 gave away, leading it to drift uncontrollably.
It hit an unmanned platform of ONGC resulting in water ingress and eventually capsized at around 1700 Hrs of May 17. A 24x7 helpline was set up from May 18.
Barge P-305 sank off the Mumbai coast on May 16 as the powerful cyclone intensified and passed through the Mumbai coast towards Gujarat. A total of 274 crew members were reported missing on May 17, which included 261 from the barge and 13 from tug Varprada.
A huge rescue operation mounted by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard managed to rescue 628 people from various locations in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai.
Captain Rakesh Ballav of the barge P-305 is missing since his ill-fated boat sank, quoting an unnamed official, news agency PTI had reported, earlier on Tuesday.
Earlier, Shiv Sena had held Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) responsible for the death of several personnel of the barge that sank off the Mumbai coast when cyclone Tauktae brushed past the city earlier this week, and sought to know if Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan would resign owning the moral responsibility of the tragedy.
"ONGC is one of the ‘navratna’ companies and the process of its privatisation has begun, the Sena said, adding that petroleum companies have given thousands of crores of rupees to the PM Cares Fund. But the companies failed to protect its workers.
So far, the Indian Navy has been to rescue at least 188 people who were on board the barge.
The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard have meanwhile found 70 bodies, while eight bodies each were recovered along the coast at adjoining Raigad district and Valsad in Gujarat following which all the missing persons were accounted for, the official had said.