Kolkata: In one of the biggest search and rescue operations in the Bay of Bengal, over 250 fishermen in 18 fishing trawlers which had gone missing in the sea during rough weather have been rescued by the Coast Guard, officials said today.
The Coast Guard has been doing a search and rescue operation to locate the missing fishing boats in the Bay of Bengal for the last 48 hours. “We have ensured safe return of 18 boats with about 254 fishermen to harbour,” officials said.
Apart from diverting its ships patrolling at sea, additional surface and air assets have been pressed into service to augment the search. The operation is on for the last 48 hours and will continue till reports are received that all fishermen are safe, the officials said.
Forty four fishermen in three boats who were reported drifting have been located and escorted back to harbour, officials said. A fishing boat ‘Dayamoyee’ along with 16 fishermen has been located and found adrift 62 nautical miles from Sagar Island due to engine failure.
ICGS Anmol was directed to provide necessary assistance and tow the stranded boat to Sagar Island. Coast Guard’s regional headquarters in Kolkata is in constant liaison with the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) of Bangladesh.
In case any fishing boat drifts towards Bangladeshi waters crossing the international maritime boundary line, necessary assistance will be provided by Bangladesh rescue agencies and Coast Guard ships will take over and escort them to safety, the officials said.
CG ships and aircrafts are regularly sanitising the area and diverting the fishing boats to safety. In the meantime, an ocean data buoy belonging to the National Institute of Ocean Technology was found beached at Frazerganj by the Coast Guard personnel of Frazerganj on August 5.
The high value data buoy was handed over to the representatives of NIOT recently and is being transported safely to Chennai, the officials added.