A cargo ship, MV Bingo is believed to have sunk in the rough seas caused by cyclonic storm Phailin with its crew on a lifeboat last sighted east of Sagar in West Bengal, a top Kolkata Port Trust official said on Sunday.
"The Panama-registered cargo ship MV Bingo is feared sunk as the crew was sighted on a lifeboat on Saturday east of Sagar, 25km from the coast," KPT chairman RPS Kahlon said in Kolkata.
The bulk cargo carrier carrying 8,000 tonnes of iron ore left for China from Sagar anchorage on October 11.
It may possibly have had tried to sail back to port following damage sustained on the rough seas, he said.
Kahlon said a Dornier aircraft and hovercraft belonging to Coast Guard were searching for the ship which sailed with 19 Chinese and one Indonesian crew member on board.
It could not be immediately confirmed whether MV Bingo, built in 2004-5, had sunk since there was no official communication with the crew, who Kahlon hoped were safe.
As per international practice, ships are advised to stay on open seas instead of inside harbours to avoid damage during storms.