Thirteen crew members onboard Indian fishing boat Tara Shankar have been rescued from about 60 nautical miles inside Bangladesh waters yesterday, in a coordinated operation between Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Bangladesh Coast Guard amidst very rough seas and inclement weather

An ICG spokesperson of Kolkata headquarters, informed that yesterday afternoon, ICG Regional Headquarters in Kolkata received a telephonic message from assistant director (Fisheries), Diamond Harbour, regarding the distressed Indian fishing boat Tara Shankarwith 13 crew from Kakdwip, West Bengal. On receipt of the information and considering the rough sea and inclement weather conditions, the ICG regional headquarters immediately contacted Bangladesh Coast Guard, West Zone, headquartered at Mongla.

On the request of ICGuard, one Bangladesh naval ship on patrol was diverted and one Bangladesh Coast Guard ship sailed from Mongla harbour for search and rescue. It was further learnt that Bangladesh Navy ship located the disabled Indian boat with 13 crew on board 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) the Bangladesh ship took the disabled boat under tow and brought it to Pussur River mouth (approx 60 NM Eastward from IMBL), where 100 more Indian fishing boats were sighted.

The Indian fishing boats concerned had taken shelter due to rough seas and inclement weather. After coordination efforts by ICG regional headquarters, Kolkata, with Bangladesh Coast Guard, the disabled boat was handed over to one of the operational fishing boats for towing back to India. As the sea is rough, all the Indian fishing boats including the disabled boat under tow were guided by the Bangladeshi ship for taking passage through riverine/coastal route westward upto Haribhanga river.

The prompt operation could be executed because Indian Coast Guard and Bangladesh Coast Guard have a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ as well as a defined‘Standard Operating Procedure’ for helping each other during such incidents and making the waters of north Bay of Bengal safe. Meanwhile in a separate incident, the Indian Coast Guard has also rescued eight persons off Odisha coast from a stranded fishing boat Yohana Devudu using its sea and air assets.