By Ramesh Mathew
The last 19 bodies were recovered from the Demas Victory service vessel yesterday afternoon. The vessel sank off Doha on June 30.
A 44-member salvage team comprising rescue and relief personnel from two UAE-based firms have been working for three days around the site.
The rescue personnel were from UAE’s Mubarak Marine and Sub-Tech.
Sources quoting salvaging teams told Gulf Times that the sunken vessel had been lifted to the surface, and was set upright around 2.30am. The salvage teams then pumped out water from inside before moving inside to collect the bodies.
They completed the operation around 4.30 in the afternoon, said a source, quoting the head of salvage operations, captain Ved Bali. Besides personnel, the salvage team comprised a crane barge and two vessels. Coastguards and personnel from Navy and Qatar Petroleum assisted the salvage teams.
All bodies were moved to Hamad Hospital later in the evening and community sources reported receiving 10 at the mortuary by 8 pm. “The remaining bodies should be brought early today,” a social worker, assisting mortuary personnel said.
Four of the bodies retrieved yesterday were in a bad state. The services of forensic personnel would be required for identification.
Several workers from HBK came to the mortuary yesterday. However, they were told to wait until today. Only five HBK workers have as yet been identified.
The identification process will begin today morning, sources said.
Bodies recovered earlier will be returned to home countries tonight or tomorrow, said Abdul Salam, a humanitarian worker, helping the Indian and Nepalese missions in repatriating the bodies.
The vessel had 35 people on board, including 24 personnel of HBK Power Cleaning Company. In all 30 persons died in the mishap. They include 16 Indians, 12 Nepalese, an Indonesian and a Bangladeshi.
Of the HBK staff eight were from Rajasthan’s Fatepur town.
Speaking to Gulf Times last evening, Nepal ambassador Dr Suryanath Mishra said HBK officials had informed the embassy that the bodies of Nepalese nationals would be flown home as soon as the formalities were completed. Only two Nepalese victims have been identified, he said.
When it was pointed out that airlines would not be able to carry some of the bodies in their present shape, senior Indian embassy official Sanjiv Kohli said the mission was considering various options in consultations with employers and friends and relatives of the victims. Asked if some bodies would be buried locally, the official replied “it is too early to say” as no one had approached the embassy with such a request.