Bhubaneswar: In a swift co-ordinated Search and Rescue (SAR) operation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) rescued 20 Bangladeshi fishermen from sea on October 25 within a short span of time, after these fishermen were sighted by Coast Guard Dornier aircraft, which was on surveillance sortie, to sanitize area post-landfall of cyclone “SITRANG”.
On October 25, post-landfall of cyclone “SITRANG”, ICG had launched its Dornier aircraft to sanitize the area close to the coast off Odisha and West Bengal and to render assistance to mariners who might have been affected during the passage of the cyclone.
During the surveillance sortie ICG Dornier aircraft sighted approximately 20 persons in water, about 90 NM from Sagar Island near Indo-Bangladesh International Maritime Border Line (IMBL), as their boats had capsized during cyclonic weather. The survivors were clinging onto floats and debris from the sunken fishing boat.
ICG aircraft dropped a liferaft in the vicinity and remained in the area till survivors embarked on the liferaft. Additionally, the aircraft diverted merchant vessel “Manta Bhum”, which was in the vicinity and was on passage from Port Kiang in Malaysia to Kolkata.
The merchant vessel was directed to pick up the 20 persons from the liferaft, which was dropped by ICG Dornier aircraft. Thereafter, ICG undertook two more air sorties to sanitise the entire area affected during the passage of the cyclone, to rule out any further incidents in the area.
Coast Guard ships Vijaya, Varad and C-426 were diverted to augment SAR efforts and sanitise 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.
These fishermen are planned to be handed over to Bangladesh Coast Guard, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Indian Coast Guard and Bangladesh Coast Guard.