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NEW DELHI, 16 JANUARY . The Indian Coast Guard in a swift operation undertaken on 16 Jan 23, rescued about 511 personnel stranded at sea in two different ferries, off Kakdwip in West Bengal. At about 0915 hrs on 16 Jan 23, a message was received from District Magistrate South 24 Paraganas at Coast Guard District Headquarters No. 8 (Haldia), intimating about the grounding of two ferries at sea near Kakdwip. The ferry vessels namely MV Lcchamati and MV Agramati were ferrying about 600 pilgrims from Ganga Sagar Mela at Sagar Island to Kakdwip. Upon receipt of the information the operations team of the Coast Guard swung into action and after ascertaining the position immediately dispatched two ACVs (Hovercraft) from Haldia and Frazerganj to provide rescue assistance.

The ACVs arrived at the incident site at about 0945 hrs on 16 Jan 23 and post assessing the on-scene situation, an evacuation plan was finalized. Simultaneously a Coast Guard Team also went to the stranded vessels to pacify the people, thereafter the personnel was briefed about the evacuation plan. The hovercrafts started evacuating personnel at about 1000 hrs to the nearest point at Kakdwip. The hovercrafts completed evacuating all the 511 pilgrims onboard both ferries by 1300 hrs on 16 Jan 23.

The Indian Coast Guard during the annual “Ganga Sagar Mela” which was held from 08-16 Jan 23, deployed seaborne units at various strategic locations to ensure the safety & security of personnel during the Mela. Two Hovercrafts carried out extensive shallow water patrol to provide safety and security cover around the clock. Besides this, seaward surveillance was also undertaken by Coast Guard Aircraft & Ships. Since the commencement of the “Ganga Sagar Mela”, a rapid lifesaving action team of Divers with a Gemini boat also been positioned at Mela site to ensure the safety of pilgrims during the Holi bath in the sea/ river confluence. Additionally, an Indian Coast Guard team headed by one officer from Coast Guard Station Frazerganj was positioned at Sagar Island for coordination with the state administration and to supervise sea front safety and security aspects.

The Indian Coast Guard by rescuing these more than 500 people at sea reiterated its commitment towards safety of lives at sea and ensuring nil loss of life.

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