Indian Coast Guard Rescues Crew of Sinking Freighter

The crewmembers of the ITT Panther with their rescuers (Indian Coast Guard via News18)

By The Maritime Executive 07-24-2017 11:41:35

On Thursday, Indian SAR forces rescued 11 crewmembers of the coastal freighter ITT Panther, which sank in rough weather about 200 nm from Port Blair in the Bay of Bengal. 

Commandant Dalip Singh, a spokesman for the Indian coast guard, told New Indian Express that a distress call came in at 0630 hours from the Panther. Three Dornier aircraft launched to find the ship, and at 0900 they located floating shipping containers and a life raft, which contained the Panther's crew. 

The Indian coast guard ships Bhikaju Cama and Rajkamal were dispatched to find and rescue the survivors. The Rajkamal arrived on scene and brought the men aboard at about 1600 hours. All 11 crewmembers were successfully rescued and were given medical attention. 

The 1,000 dwt Panther was on a voyage from Kolkata to Port Blair, the capital of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. She was carrying 29 containers plus several hundred tonnes of breakbulk cargo. Her crew reported that she had suffered a cargo shift in the rough seas, which reduced her stability and led to the sinking. 

Captain Amitabha Mukherjee told the Echo that the crew had done everything they could to save the ship. “We tried our best to rectify the fault for around two days and ultimately decided to take the ‘abandon ship’ call. The ship started sinking at around 6 am [Thursday] and all of us onboard boarded the life raft at around 6.30 am and sent the distress call to rescue agencies."