Kochi/New Delhi: Indian Navy has joined the search and rescue (SAR) mission on Monday to find the 10 missing Indian sailors, including a Keralite, of MV Emerald Star, which sank off Philippines coast on October 13.
The navy dispatched a Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance (Navy 323) aircraft at 11.45 pm from Arakkonam Naval Air Station Sunday night. It has arrived at Villamor Air Base in Manila around 9 am on Monday and has begun the SAR operations.
The aircraft is equipped with two SAR kits which contain an inflatable dinghy capable of carrying 10 persons. It is also carrying emergency food and water supplies meant for airdropping to survivors.
On Friday, the 33,205 tonnes Emerald Star sent a distress signal to the Japanese coastguard as it sailed 280 km east of the northern tip of Philippines. The Hong Kong-registered cargo ship was carrying 26 Indians on board.
According to a Japanese coastguard spokesperson, two patrol boats and two planes were immediately dispatched to the site but a typhoon had made the rescue difficult. The spokesperson also said that the cargo ship had sunk while three other vessels sailing near the area rescued 16 crew members.
However, 10 others were untraceable.
The Philippine coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said the agency attempted to dispatch a ship and helicopter to help search the area, which is beyond the country's territorial waters but was turned back by stormy weather.
Coastguard agencies in nearby countries were also alerted about the ship sinking, he said. He said it was standard procedure for the Philippines to help out in such a case.
"Search and rescue missions are borderless," Balilo said by telephone in Manila.
Photos taken by a Japanese coast guard aircraft showed a damaged lifeboat believed to be from the sunken ship floating in choppy waters, along with traces of an oil leak.
The coast guard said the cause of the sinking was not known.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday announced helpline numbers for information related to the sinking of a cargo ship off Japan.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that those seeking information regarding the accident can get in touch with the MEA control room on 0091-11-23012113 / 0091-11-23017905 and 0091-11-23015300 or at email@example.com.
Details of the crew
According to a tweet by MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, those missing are captain Rajesh Ramachandran Nair, second officer Rahul Kumar, third officer Subramaniam Giridhar Kumar, chief engineer Rajput Shyam Singh, fourth engineer Subbiah Suresh Kumar, junior engineer Chauhan Ashok Kumar, Perumalsamy Gurumurthy, Malavaranan Silambarasan, Murugan Gowtham and Bevin Thomas.
The 16 crew members who were rescued by MV Densa Cobra (In Xiamen, China) and MV SM Samarinda (Philippines) are: second engineer Madhavan Vaidan Suresh Kumar, third engineer Thalai Raj Alangaram, junior engineer Rengasamy Karuppiah, electrical officer Lourdusamy Subash, bosun Mansuri Muhammad Irfan, Jegan Selvandaran, Ramani Rethina Kumar, deck cadet Annadurai Anandha Kumar, oiler Renjith Lal, wiper Agin Kigin, engine fitter Ram Kailash, Ch. officer Ganagalla Kishore Kumar, Eng. cadet Umadurai Ramadurai, chief cook Ramalingam Karthikayan, Tr O/S Pascal Fernando Joseph Prakash, and deck fitter Dasari Prakasa Rao.