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20 missing as cargo vessel sinks off Gujarat coast

August 28, 2004 22:21 IST

A cargo vessel on its way to Somalia sunk off the coast of Jakhau in Kutch early Saturday.

All 20 crewmembers escaped in a rescue boat, police and coast guard sources said.

However, they were not traceable and efforts were on to find them, they said.

The vessel, Al Shehenshah-E-Hind, owned by a lady named Yasmine in Khambhaliya town of Jamnagar district, was transporting 575 tonnes of rice and had began its voyage from Mundra port in Kutch on August 21, the police said.

"According to reports reaching here, the vessel had managed to travel 200 km after Karachi. But due to stormy conditions and rough sea, they were returning to Mundra when it collided with rocks in the Kori creek and subsequently sunk," Sub-Inspector O M Rawal said.

Rawal said that one of the crewmembers had sent a wireless message to Yasmine's brother-in-law saying that the "vessel is sinking and the crewmembers are leaving in rescue boats".

"This was the last message from the vessel and after that the crewmembers have not been traced," Rawal said.

Efforts to trace the crew are being hampered due to stormy conditions in the sea, the source said.

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