Indian Coast Guard rescues 20 cyclone-hit B’deshi fishermen

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) rescued 20 Bangladeshi fishermen from the sea off Sagar Island near Indo-Bangladesh International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) when they were caught in cyclonic weather conditions.

In a swift coordinated Search and Rescue (SAR) operation, ICG saved their lives after the Coast Guard Dornier aircraft on surveillance sortie of the post landfall of cyclone “SITRANG” sighted their capsized boats on Tuesday and alerted the SAR team. They were rescued quickly and handed over to Bangladesh Coast Guard, an official release said.

The ICG had launched its Dornier aircraft post landfall of cyclone “SITRANG to sanitize the area close to the coast off Odisha and West Bengal and to render assistance to the mariners affected by the cyclone.

During the surveillance sortie, ICG Dornier aircraft sighted approx 20 persons in water about 90 NM form IMBL as their boats had capsized in the cyclone. The survivors were clinging onto the floats and debris from sunken fishing boat. ICG dropped life raft in the vicinity and remained in area till survivors embarked the life raft.

Then the ICG aircraft diverted merchant vessel “Nanta Bhum”, which was in vicinity during its passage from Port Klang in Malaysia to Kolkata, directing it to pick up the 20 persons from the life raft dropped by it.

Coast Guard ships Vijaya, Varad and C-426 were diverted to augment SAR efforts and sanitize the area. The 20 Bangladeshi fishermen were subsequently taken over by ICG Ship Vijaya. The fishermen were checked by medical officer onboard ICG ship for their fitness before being handed over to Bangladesh Coast Guard, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Coast Guard and Bangladesh Coast Guard.

It is pertinent to mention that the Indian Coast Guard in coordination with State Governments of Odisha and West Bengal, had initiated pre-emptive and preventive actions as per its laid down standard operating procedure to mitigate the risk posed by impending weather/cyclone and ensured the timely and safe return of all fishing boats in aftermath of the receipt of first indication of formation of “low pressure area” forecast by IMD regarding cyclone “SITRANG”.

The advisory was also shared with Bangladesh Coast Guard. Throughout the passage of cyclone weather, advisory was aired by ICG through Radar Station and Remote Operating Stations.

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