No contact established with missing cargo vessel; search on

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Kavaratti, Lakshadweep, Nov 8 (UNI) No contact could be established with the missing cargo vessel 'M S V Lakshadweep', even as the Coast Guard search and rescue operations continued for the third day today.

Coast Guard Kavaratti Commanding Officer M V Kumar told UNI that the force's Dornier aircraft made another surveillance sortie this morning, but there was no sign of the vessel, which left Mangalore Port on November three with seven people on board.

The vessel, being operated for the Lakshadweep Cooperative Marketing Federation, was to arrive at Kalpeni island in Lakshadweep on November five with a 1.7 tonne cargo of sand and pulses.

The port officials then alerted the Coast Guard, which started its search operations from November six.

Commandant Kumar said efforts were being made to contact the vessel, a 35-metre-long mechanised wooden dhow, through a VHF communication set on board, but there was no response.

''The Coast Guard has sanitised the route from Mangalore to Kalpeni and has now started the search operations in the reverse direction. Search will be carried out north of Mangalore also,'' he said.

Besides air surveillance, Coast Guard's ship 'Kasturba Gandhi' from Mangalore Port was also involved in the search operation.

The operation had been extended to all possible areas as the ship could have developed engine trouble and drifted away from the main course, the official added.

The ship's last contact with the Coast Guard had been shortly after leaving Mangalore Port on November three, when the Captain had reported that everything was alright.

UNI

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