An oil tanker with 37-member crew on board on Wednesday ran aground off Chennai under the impact of high velocity winds before the landfall of cyclone 'Nilam', leaving one person dead.
While the identity of the victim was yet to be ascertained, the condition of two were said to be serious, sources in Chennai Port Trust said.
The crew member drowned after a life boat carrying him and 21 colleagues capsized in choppy waters off Besant Nagar locality in south Chennai in high velocity winds just hours before the cyclone hit the coast.
He was brought dead to a hospital while 15 others were rescued.
They had attempted to escape using the life boat after the ship ran aground on being drifted by high velocity winds. Two others are in a serious condition, Chennai Port Trust officials said.
The other 15 remained onboard "Pratibha Cauvery", the officials said.
Navy, Coast Guard and other agencies are searching for the remaining six.
'Pratibha Cauvery,' of Mumbai-based Pratibha Shipping Company, along with several ships, berthed at Chennai Port, was on Tuesday asked to go to the Outer Anchorage of the port as a precautionary measure before the severe cyclonic storm arrived, they said.
However, the ship, anchored about 3.56 nautical miles from the Port yesterday, drifted and touched the shore near Elliots Beach.
The 26,000 tonne (DWT) capacity tanker had two tonnes of light diesel and furnace oil when the mishap occurred,they said.