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Falmouth coastguard co-ordinating Oman cyclone rescue

Falmouth Coastguard is co-ordinating the rescue of a fishing vessel stranded in a cyclone off Oman.

A barge with nine people on board became stranded after losing its tow to the tug, Roma, which sought shelter.

Falmouth Coastguard contacted the tanker, Al Merrat, which is travelling 300 miles (482.8km) in an attempt to evacuate the passengers.

Wind speeds of 200mph (321.kph) and 10m (32ft) waves are expected in the storm. The rescue operation is on-going.

Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager Henry Purbrick said: "The cyclone is predicted to go right over the top of the tug and barge, so we are dedicating all our efforts to finding a rescue resource that can evacuate the people on board."

Falmouth coastguard was contacted on Wednesday after Oman authorities were unable to rescue the people on the barge, Kanta, because of the need to evacuate communities in Oman.

Rescue helicopters were also grounded due to the weather conditions.

Falmouth Coastguard appealed to vessels who were in close vicinity to the stranded barge and received a response from Al Merrat.

Mr Purbrick said: "Due to the bad weather, all vessels have fled the area and so we are totally reliant on Al Merrat to proceed to their rescue.

"However, the sea conditions are so bad in the area that even if they do locate the vessels it may be that they are unable to evacuate the people on board, and so we are extremely concerned for their safety and are continuing to attempt to send resources to their rescue."

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