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51 dead in P305 accident

Four days after Barge P305 sank in the Arabian Sea, the Mumbai police on Friday registered a case of negligence in the mishap. A spokesperson of the Indian Navy Friday said at least 51 bodies have been recovered and 27 personnel are missing.

Early on Friday, the police said that on the complaint of a P305 engineer, an offence was registered under Sections 304(II) (an act done with knowledge that it is likely to cause death), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Yellow Gate police said they have booked the captain of the barge for allegedly ignoring the warnings related to Cyclone Tauktae.

Mumbai Police Spokesperson DCP S Chaitanya said, “The captain of the barge acted negligently on the warnings issued related to Cyclone Tautkee and that allegedly led to the mishap which has killed 49 so far, due to which we have registered an offence. We have so far mentioned the barge’s captain and others in the FIR, and on the basis of the findings of the investigation, we will book more officials.”

The investigators will also seek necessary inquiry reports from the departments conducting the probe.

In a statement, Afcons said the Master of P305, Balwinder Singh, decided to move the barge only 200 metres away from the platform where it was operating even as other vessels moved closer to safe harbours based on its advice. The predicted maximum wind speeds of 40 knots (about 75 km/hr) and the barge’s location being about 120 nautical miles (222 km) from the anticipated eye of the storm led the Master to believe they were safe, the company said. Singh reportedly understood the cyclone to be a “tropical storm”.

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