Chennai, Nov 16 (PTI) As cyclone Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast early Friday, a dredger that was anchored in Karaikal port ran aground due to the strong winds.

However, there were no casualties, official sources said.

The dredger ‘Veera Prem’ belongs to Mumbai-based Mercator Ltd and was anchored in Karaikal Port premises since January, the sources told PTI.

It was dragged for about 60 km from the port before it ran aground, they said.

“It was involved in dredging activities in Karaikal port. Recently, the workers were involved in repairing it as one of the engines malfunctioned,” they said.

The dredger ran aground near T R Pattinam (Thirumalairayanpattinam) taluk early morning.

“It had about 28 crew. Only three of them are in the dredger right now while the rest are in port. Once the weather condition improves, it will be pulled back into the sea using tug boats,” they said.

It cannot be done now due to the inclement weather and rough sea conditions. “Once the weather clears, it will be done by the shipping company in one or two days,” they said.

A senior district police official said public have been barred from thronging the area to see the dredger.

An e-mail sent to the Mumbai-based company seeking information about the incident failed to elicit any response.

In October 2012, an oil tanker Pratibha Cauvery with 37 member crew ran aground off Chennai coast about 200 metres from the shore due to strong winds during cyclone ‘Nilam’.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.