No less than 624 passengers and 85 crew on board MV Kavaratti were rescued and ferried to safety by the Coast Guard after a major fire was reported in the engine room of the ship near Kavaratti Island in the Lakshadweep, a defence ministry statement said.
The fire was reported to Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Mumbai on Wednesday by the Lakshadweep Development Corporation Ltd when the ship was sailing to Androth from Kavaratti. An SOS was relayed to the Coast Guard Ship 'Samarth' deployed in the area, and the vessel was diverted to render assistance.
“MV Kavaratti was boarded by a specialist team of the Coast Guard 30 nautical miles off Kavaratti Island. The vessel was found to be non-operational since the engines couldn't be used for further propulsion. Moreover, due to generator failure onboard, owing to the fire, the Shell door couldn’t be operated for safe and expeditious evacuation of all passengers and hence the Coast Guard ship decided to tow the vessel to Androth for positioning all the crew and passengers at a safe location,” a defence spokesperson said.
MV Kavaratti was taken under tow by ICGS Samarth in the dark hours and brought to Androth on December 2 morning. All passengers disembarked at Androth and are reported to be safe, the spokesperson added.