The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has rescued all 19 crew members from a bitumen tanker that sank off the Ratnagiri coast.

The seafarers from the 5,000-dwt Parth (built 2008) first contacted rescue authorities in Mumbai on Friday morning, domestic media reported.

A helicopter winched 18 Indians and the Ethiopian master from lifeboats, 41 nautical miles offshore.

The Gabon-flag tanker sank later that evening.

The Parth was operated by Safe Seas Ship Management of Sharjah, which has been contacted for further information.

The 102-metre ship was carrying 3,911 tonnes of cargo from New Mangalore in India to Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates.

Water had leaked into one of its compartments, reports said.

Two ICG ships, the Sujeet and Apoorva, diverted to the scene and warnings were relayed to other merchant vessels in the area.

The 4,253-teu container vessel Wadi Bani Khalid (built 2008), owned by Asyad Line of Oman, was also directed to proceed to the site.

The ICG and India’s shipping ministry have begun an investigation into the cause of the water ingress.

Detained in 2020

Shipping ministry officials told the Indian Express that poor maintenance was unlikely to be a factor due to the age of the ship.

The vessel’s last port state control safety inspection was carried out in Karwar, India, in October 2020.

The Parth was detained with 26 deficiencies.

Grounds for detention included faults relating to the structural safety of ballast and fuel tanks, and watertight doors.

This was the first detention on record for the vessel.