NEW DELHI, 26 OCTOBER( UH). In a swift co-ordinated Search and Rescue (SAR) operation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) rescued 20 Bangladeshi fishermen from the sea on 25 Oct 22 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”.
According to a press release issued by the Coast Guard on 25th Oct 22, 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 approx 20 persons in water, about 90 NM from Sagar Island near Indo-Bangladesh International Maritime Border Line (IMBL), as their boats had capsized during cyclone weather. The survivors were clinging onto floats and debris from a sunken fishing boat. ICG aircraft dropped a liferaft in the vicinity and remained in area till survivors embarked the liferaft. Additionally, the aircraft diverted merchant vessel “Nanta Bhum”, which was in vicinity and was on passage from Port Klang 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 sanitize the entire area affected during the passage of 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 sanitize the area. The 20 Bengladeshi 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 Bengladesh Coast Guard.
It is pertinent to mention that the Indian Coast Guard in coordination with State Govt. 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 timely and safe return of all fishing boats post receipt of first indication of formation of “low pressure area” forecasted by IMD regarding cyclone “SITRANG”. The advisory was also shared with Bengladesh Coast Guard. Throughout the passage of cyclone weather advisory was aired by ICG through Radar Station and Remote operating Stations.
As part of its charter of duties, the Indian Coast Guard undertakes Maritime Search and Rescue operations frequently. The Indian Coast Guard not only provides solace to fishermen and mariners in distress, but also provides humanitarian assistance. This operation reflects the commitment of Indian Coast Guard towards safeguarding precious lives at sea against all odds. Such successful Search and Rescue operations will not only strengthen the regional SAR structure but also enhance the international cooperation with neighbouring countries. This is in keeping with the motto of the Indian Coast Guard “VAYAM RAKSHAMAH” which means “WE PROTECT”.