Cyclone Nilam: Search continues for missing crew of ship grounded of Chennai coast (Update-Ship-Grounded-Tamil Nadu)

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 01, 2012 10:40 hrs

Rescue teams searched for crew members still missing on Thursday from the Indian vessel Prathibha Cauvery, which ran aground following strong winds due to cyclone Nilam.

Two crew members were admitted to hospital with one sailor pronounced dead.

Helicopters hovered over the ship to rescue the 37 stranded crew members. So far 32 have been rescued with five still missing.

The ship, which drifted following heavy winds, is currently at Besant Nagar beach in South Chennai and is carrying two tonnes of light diesel oil and 355 tonnes of furnace oil.

Cyclone Nilam made a landfall on the south east coast on Wednesday evening (October 31).

Locals gathered at the beach to watch the rescue operations were concerned of a leak from the ship.

"Since it is a rare occasion, the major hazard is to the marine environment, where there is a possibility of some oil leakage or something like that. I think the Indian government should be taking a very fast action, since it is a major threat to the environment and the society and the people living in the coastal area," said Aditya, a local.

On Tuesday (October 30) India's Chennai port has stopped cargo operations after a cyclone warning. On Thursday a port official confirmed the port resumed cargo operations after a cyclone in the area eased in severity.

The port handles about 10 percent of traffic passing through India's major ports, covering a variety of cargoes including crude oil, petroleum products and agricultural commodities.

The north Indian Ocean usually sees about five cyclones a year, about 5-6 percent of all cyclones, with October-November and May-June seeing the most severe ones. (ANI)

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