A coastal sailing vessel, which was on its way to Maldives from Thoothukudi with 287 tonnes of cargo, got submerged after being caught in inclement weather, off Kanniyakumari coast in the early hours of Wednesday.

When coastal sailing vessel, Annai Velankanni Arockiya Vennila, was on its way to Maldives from Thoothukudi with 287 tonnes of cement, vegetables and other cargo, and nine crew, it was caught in rough weather even as it was 250 nautical miles off the island nation’s coast.

As the sailing became a life-threatening venture with the wind becoming hostile, master of the vessel Arockiyasamy, 40, of Thoothukudi, decided to return to Thoothukudi.

When the vessel was 130 nautical miles off Kanniyakumari around 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday, water entered the engine room forcing the crew to inform the owner, Wellington of Gandhi Nagar here, who in turn alerted the Indian Coast Guard. The Coastal Sailing Vessel Association office-bearers also alerted Member of Parliament Kanimozhi, who requested the Union Government officials to launch rescue operations immediately.

After the officials managed to contact a cargo ship crossing the mishap site in the early hours of Wednesday, they appealed to the captain of the ship to rescue the crew of the sailing vessel. While the crew were rescued, the vessel could not be salvaged.