Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Tuesday rescued 20 Bangladeshi fishermen from the sea in a swiftly coordinated search and rescue operation. The fishermen were sighted by the ICG Dornier aircraft which was aloft on surveillance sortie to sanitise and render assistance to the affected mariners in the area close to the coast off Odisha and West Bengal post the landfall of cyclone Sitrang.

“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, as their boats had capsized during cyclone weather. The survivors were clinging onto floats and debris from the sunken fishing boat. ICG aircraft dropped liferaft in the vicinity and remained in the area till survivors embarked the life raft,” the ICG said on Wednesday.

In addition, the merchant vessel Nanta Bhum, which was in the vicinity and was on passage from Port Klang in Malaysia to Kolkata was diverted towards the stranded fishermen to pick up the persons from the raft. Also, ICG ships Vijaya, Varad and Fast Interceptor Craft C-426 were diverted to augment search and rescue efforts and sanitise the area. The Bangladeshi fishermen were subsequently taken over by ICG Ship Vijaya. 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.

“The fishermen were checked by a medical officer on board ICG ship for their fitness. These fishermen are planned to be handed over to the Bangladesh Coast Guard,” the statement said. There is an agreement for the same between the two Coast Guards.

The ICG had initiated pre-emptive and preventive actions in coordination with the state governments of Odisha and West Bengal to mitigate the risk posed by the impending cyclone. The advisory was also shared with Bangladesh Coast Guard. Throughout the passage of the cyclone, weather advisory was aired by ICG through Radar Station and Remote operating Stations, said the ICG.

Spotted during surveillance sortie 

The fishermen were sighted by the ICG Dornier aircraft which was aloft on surveillance sortie to sanitise and render assistance to the affected mariners in the area close to the coast off Odisha and West Bengal post the landfall of cyclone Sitrang.

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