Caught in the storm- a vessel all ignored

The storm has blown over but it has taken a toll. At least four crew of the ship Pratibha Vauvery which ran agound atBesant Nagar beach in Chennai have died.  Two others are still missing. The bodies of the four have been washed ashore.

The sorry plight of the vessel is just being disclosed. The ship, which offloaded its oil cargo, had been anchored off Chennai Port for more than a month after it ran out of fuel. Her captainCarl Fernandes told the police he had sent several requests to the port but they went unheeded. The agency that hired the crew abandoned them and the vessel, local newspapers said.Crew members had to sustain on a week’s ration for a month and drink rain water.

After the cyclone Nilam warning, the crew urged port officials to tug the vessel to the outer sea, but got no response. When the ship ran aground, the captain ordered the sailors to lowerthe life boats and abandon ship; 31 of them reached the shores safely, helped by local fishermen.

In Chennai power was only restored to the suburbs, includingKolathur, Tirunindravur, Pattabiram, Tambaram andUrapakkam, yesterday. A resident of Annai Rajammal Nagar,Puthagaram, told The Hindu: “It was a terrible experience. We were able to manage with the inverter till night by running just one fan and light. We just had rice and curd as it was impossible to cook anything else.”