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Shortly, miscalculations may have ended CGSB ships in the cyclone whirlwind, sources say, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld


Mumbai: Rescue of crew members from barge P305 after they were brought by INS Kochi to Mumbai Shipyard, Mumbai. PTI Photo / Shashank Parade

Inadequate warning and mistaken calculations of the ferocity of Cyclone Tauktae and its trajectory may have contributed to a false belief that oilfield operations in the Arabian Sea should not be halted, prominent sources have said. close to CGSB whose ships with 700 on board were hit by the storm. An Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) drill ship and three barges from private contractor Afcons working on the state-owned company’s oilfield drifted after their anchors gave way in Monday night’s storm.

A massive day and night operation by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and CGSB vessels saved those of the drill ship and two barges, but only 186 of the 261 accommodation barges on board Pappa 305 could be saved. 37 people have been confirmed dead to date, while the remaining 38 are still missing.

“The facilities used to find and produce oil and gas under the seabed are designed to operate in harsh weather conditions. In Mumbai at sea, these facilities are at a water depth of between 75 meters and 200 meters, â€said a source with direct knowledge of the matter. .

Offshore oil and gas operations around the world are neither closed nor personnel evacuated during each adverse weather event.

“We just do we assess that an event would be difficult to manage,” he said. “Such an assessment depends mainly on the meteorological data received by the operator.”

In the case of Tauktae, the most severe storm to hit the west coast in more than two decades, forecasts for speed, air pressure and route have all gone wrong, the source said.

“More importantly, it takes about a week to shut down operations, move ships and move people according to established protocol for an incident-free operation,†he said. “In Tauktae’s case, there wasn’t enough time to do it. Also, the trajectory and ferocity predictions weren’t accurate either. The time the ships had to spend in survival mode and not not go for evacuation. ”

Another source said that the captains of the ships are the final decision-making authority and have full authority to make any decisions for the safety of the ships and the crew.

All information received from the meteorological department and coast guard has been passed on to the operator as well as the captains of the four ships, he said.

“We don’t yet know why the captains chose to do what they did during the cyclone,” the source said, adding that an investigative committee had already been set up to investigate this matter further.

The oil ministry on Wednesday formed a high-level committee to investigate the sequence of events leading to the grounding of the ships.

The committee comprising Amitabh Kumar, director general of navigation; SCL Das, Director General of Hydrocarbons, and Nazli Jafri Shayin, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Defense will present their report within one month.

It was requested “to investigate the sequence of events which led to the grounding and drifting of these vessels, as well as subsequent events”.

The terms of reference of the group also include consideration of whether warnings issued by the Meteorological Department and other statutory authorities have been duly taken into account and applied and whether “standard operating procedures for securing vessels and managing the disaster management have been properly monitored “. .

The cyclone sank the P-305, which housed living quarters for employees working offshore, while two other construction barges lost anchors and drifted.

In addition to the barges, an CGSB “Sagar Bhushan†drilling platform with 101 people on board (37 CGSB employees and 64 contractors) has moved too far from its location.

Sources said the 137 people aboard the barge “Gal Constructor”, which ran aground about 48 nautical miles north of Colaba Point in Mumbai, were rescued.

In addition, 201 people aboard the barge “Support Station-3†as well as the CGSB drilling vessel “Sagar Bhushan†were also brought to safety.