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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cyclone Nilam strikes - MT Pratibha Cauvery runs aground - 1 dead; 4 missing

Even as I write that cyclone Nilam has not devastated much, there are some human casualties, that too associated with a ship ‘MT Pratibha Cauvery’. Before we go into the details, here are two photos, the first one is taken from Tamil daily Dinamalar and the second one taken by a friend of mine. [Mr Thirumazhisai Kannan].  Can you notice any significant difference ? 

You can see the helicopter hovering above too…

In a ghastly incident at least one sailor drowned and five reported missing after an oil tanker beached off Chennai due to gusty winds and choppy waters when Cyclone Nilam slammed into the east coast on Wednesday. There are reports that the captain of oil tanker MT Pratibha Cauvery ordered sailors to abandon ship after it lost anchor and drifted to around 100 metres off the Besant Nagar beach,where it ran aground around 2.30pm and appeared to be in danger of sinking.

Pratibha Cauvery is a  Tanker vessel of 1981 built with 16949 GRT ; Length overall (LOA)        174.05 (MTR);  Indian flagged with call sign: VWQU and IMO: 7920754. 

TOI reports of  Vadivelu , a 28-year-old fisherman from Oorur Kuppam received by hundreds with applause.  It was for his heroic act at sea. Vadivelu and four other fishermen were the heroes of cyclone Nilam, as they rescued six crew members of Pratibha Cauvery which ran aground off Besant Nagar beach on Wednesday . While onlookers at the beach hailed them, the rescued crew members worshipped them.  TOI reports that when hundreds of people watched in despair as the lifeboat of oil tanker Pratibha Cauvery capsized, the fishermen decided to launch their own rescue mission. Catamarans fitted with motors sputtered to life and fishermen were competing with each other to go on the mission. Vadivelu and four others, who the community agreed were the best swimmers, were chosen.  The men threw over six men who were being tossed around by the waves. They returned to the sea to rescue the others who were clinging on to a collapsed boat, but could not go near the ship because of high waves. "We told them to swim towards us, but they were scared. They couldn't throw ropes at us either ," said a fisherman.

The official said that still "fifteen members of the crew are on the ship".  There are reports that those on board were later rescued by Coast Guard helicopters which swung in to action.  According to a Chennai Port official, Pratibha Cauvery was proceeding to Mumbai after discharging its cargo at the port.  The ship returned as it was called back by the Chennai Port Oct 8, the official said.

The vessel which went adrift agrounded near Urur Kuppam off Besant Nagar and you will find news and reports of this in the Chennai edition of almost all newspaper.

Later in the evening when wind blew the other way, the ship was moved from that position and moved in a northerly direction, running aground this time closer to the sands near Pattinapakkam [Foreshore Estate] almost 500 meters from the shore and less than a kilo metre from the new lighthouse at Marina beach.

Here is another photo with which you can answer the Q in the first para.  The first photo of Dinamalar was taken at Besant nagar beach, the spot of first beaching when you are seeing the starboard side of the vessel; in the next one and the one above – you are seeing the port side, as these are photos taken this morning at Foreshore Estate by my friend when I was also present...

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Nov. 2012.


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  2. Great realtime report - hats off to this report.. Capt. Zaved

  3. Great post. I also saw the ship at foreshoe estate this morning - so many details were not known to me - Urmila


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