Chennai: Fifteen sailors were on Thursday rescued and a search was on for six other missing crew who were on board an oil tanker that drifted and ran aground off the city coast in high velocity winds before the landfall of cyclone 'Nilam'.

"Around 6.30 AM, 15 people who were stranded on board the vessel were safely rescued by the Coast Guard", Chennai Port Trust officials told.

Search involving the Navy and Coast Guard is on for the missing six persons, the officials said. The vessel 'Pratibha Cauvery' with 37 crew members on board ran aground near Elliott's Beach in South Chennai, about 200 metres away from the shore.

One crew member drowned after a life boat carrying him and his 21 colleagues capsized in choppy waters while 15 others were rescued with the help of several agencies including Navy and local fishermen on Wednesday.

The ship belonged to Mumbai-based Pratibha Shipping Company. Two persons were killed in Tamil Nadu as Nilam crossed the coast between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh border on Wednesday without causing much damage.


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