On Thursday, the Shore Guard rescued a labourer, Rafique Shaikh (30), after the barge on which he had fallen asleep, the Hiradevi, hit rocky surfaces after its anchor broke, around 3 nautical miles (about 5.4 kilometres) off the Arnalapada lighthouse, near the Bhuigaon coast in Vasai.
The labourer had been stranded on the barge for about 26 hours and was sleeping when it drifted out to sea. He was alone because the pilot had gone to eat his meal on the barge.
The Coast Guard arrived in a chopper on Friday morning and rescued Shaikh. They went over his documents, which he kept in a black bag, and discovered that they were all in order. They escorted him to the Bhuigaon coast, where he was taken away for questioning by Vasai Gaon police. The MBVV police had requested assistance from the Coast Guard, who conducted an overhead assessment on Thursday evening, but the rescue mission had to be postponed owing to severe weather.
Akhtar Kalokhe of Uttan owns the barge. The Mira Bhayander Vasai Virar (MBVV) Commissionerate will question Kalokhe and Shaikh since the two did not alert the MBVV police, despite Shaikh’s phone conversation with Kalokhe. The CG, MBVV, and the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) were all put on high alert as a result, according to Sanjaykumar Patil, DCP, Zone II, MBVV.
“We will take the required steps in this regard. The labourer had also unfurled a black flag onboard, and the barge lacked any identifiers, such as the Indian national flag or other identification marks, which put the agencies into a tizzy,” he claimed.
The 8-tonne 6 cylinder barge once belonged to Rajendra Gulab Patil of Kalwa, Thane. Patil said he sold it to Kalokhe for 26 lakh roughly two months ago and the transfer paperwork were still pending. The barge was used to transport construction personnel as well as stones, sand, and other building materials.