Indian Navy on Monday deployed a helicopter for assistance after a merchant vessel with 20 persons onboard listed off the Vasai coast in neighbouring Palghar district.

"Information was received around midnight by the Indian Navy that a vessel in distress Jindal Kamakshi which was 40 nautical miles from Mumbai harbour and 25 nautical miles off Vasai coast had listed heavily," a Defence spokesperson said.

"The distress message said the vessel listed heavily, with 20 persons onboard and requested assistance," the official said, adding the cause of the listing was not confirmed."Indian Navy has launched one seaking helicopter to provide immediate assistance and a ship was also deployed for rendering assistance.

The ship has been contacted," he said. He further said, the vessel had counter ballasted (flood opposite tank) to improve stability. Condition is currently stable."Considering the sea state in the area, we are keeping a close watch on the situation and keeping close to evacuate the vessel should the situation worsen," he added.