Specialist Clearance Diving Team of Western Naval Command on Monday conducted the diving Operations over the wreck of Tug Varaprada, informed the Indian Navy.

According to the Indian Navy, the diving was carried out at a depth of 32 Metres in nil visibility conditions at distance of 35 nautical miles from Mumbai harbour from INS Makar and INS Tarasa.

“Specialised surface supply diving equipment, underwater search equipment, hand held SONAR and underwater lights were used during the dive operations. No mortal remains were located underwater,” it said.

Meanwhile, the family of Nagendra Kumar, who went missing after tugboat Varaprada “capsized” off the coast of Mumbai under the impact of cyclone Tauktae, is waiting for his safe return to home in Lucknow.

Nagendra Kumar is captain of Varaprada tugboat. The family said the tugboat overturned in the sea due to strong winds and sudden intensification of the cyclone. Varaprada was towing barge Gal Constructor to the coast.

Kumar’s family said that out of 13 people aboard tug boat, two survived by jumping and whereabouts of the remaining 11 including Nagendra Kumar have not been ascertained. They said that Tugboat Varaprada is owned by Glory shipping management company.

Surendra Kumar Prajapati, the elder brother of Kumar, said they got the information from Navy officials that tugboat had overturned.

“The tugboat had overturned. There was no intimation from the shipping company. But his son who stays in the Netherlands got the information from the navy officials that it had overturned. When we contacted on Wednesday, the company said it is still missing. Among the 13 crew members in Varaprada, 11 are missing. I questioned the company if the crew members sank below the ship.”

Kusum Kumari, wife of Kumar, said she had word with him on Sunday last.”I had a word with him on Sunday night around 10 pm. He asked about everybody at home.

As the network was not there, he cut the call. I called the company on Wednesday, they said it is missing and the search operation is on. If they had conducted the search timely then everybody would have been now at home. This is their fault. I have not lost hope. I believe he will come. But with every passing day, my concern is growing,” Kusum told ANI.

On May 21, the Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO) had informed that at least 188, including two from the anchor boat Varaprada have been rescued so far from the barge P305, which sank after Cyclone Tauktae hit the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai on May 17.

As many as 60 bodies have been recovered from the barge.

The search and rescue operations for the remaining crew is still underway, the Defence PRO had said.

It had also stated that underwater search by Navy Survey ship has been planned for locating wrecks of Barge P305 and Tug Varaprada using specialised teams and equipment.

Cyclone Tauktae had hit the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai in the early hours on May 17. Major production installations and drilling rigs of ONGC are located there. (ANI)

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