In a coordinated operation between Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Bangladesh Coast Guard, amidst rough seas and inclement weather, 13 crew members onboard Indian fishing boat ‘Tara Shankar’ have been rescued from about 60 NM inside Bangladesh waters on July 6.
After the Indian Coast Guard regional headquarters in Kolkata received a telephonic message from assistant director (fisheries), Diamond Harbour, regarding the distressed Indian Fishing Boat, the ICG regional headquarters immediately contacted Bangladesh Coast Guard West Zone headquarters at Mongla. On the request of ICG, one Bangladesh Naval ship on patrol was diverted and one Bangladesh Coast Guard ship was sailed from Mongla harbour for Search and rescue.
Bangladesh Navy ship located the Indian disabled boat with 13 crew onboard near Mongla Fair Way Buoy in the evening and rescued the boat and all crew members. Despite very high sea conditions (against 5-6 metres of swell) Bangladesh Naval ship took the Indian disabled boat under tow and brought to Pussur River mouth, approximately 60 NM eastward from International Maritime Border Line (IMBL), where 100 more Indian fishing boats were sighted. These Indian fishing boats had taken shelter due to rough seas and inclement weather. After coordination efforts by Indian Coast Guard regional headquarters, Kolkata with Bangladesh Coast Guard, the Indian disabled boat was handed over to one of the operational IFBs for towing back to India. As the sea was rough, all the Indian fishing boats including the disabled boat under tow were guided by Bangladesh Naval ship for taking passage through riverine/coastal route westward up to Haribhanga river.
The prompt operation could be executed because Indian Coast Guard and Bangladesh Coast Guard have a Memorandum of Understanding followed by a Standard Operating Procedure for helping each other during such incidences and making waters of north Bay of Bengal safe.
In yet another challenging operation, the Indian Coast Guard has swiftly rescued eight precious lives off Odisha coast from stranded fishing boat Yohana Devudu (Registration No. IND-AP-E2-MM-735). As per information received, the boat owner lost contact since June 26. The boat had ventured into sea on June 21 for fishing. In this regard, assistant director (fisheries), Kakinda intimated the Indian Coast Guard on July 5 to locate the missing boat with non-operational engine and rudder.
Maritime Rescue Sub Centre, Paradip on receipt of information immediately sailed out ICGS Sarojini Naidu on July 6 with dispatch to assist the boat in distress in coordination with Coast Guard Dornier in a sea-air coordinated operation. The ship arrived at 5 pm on July 6 and established communication with the boat master. Subsequently, the distressed boat was provided with food and potable water along with medicines.
Rough weather hampered rescue operations but finally the distressed boat was towed and safety of eight crew members was ensured. The ship safely brought the IFB under tow off Paradip and entered Paradip Harbour at 7.15 am on July 7. On arrival, all the fishermen were medically examined and reported to be in a healthy condition.