The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in a coordinated operation with Bangladesh Coast Guard has successfully repatriated 516 fishermen along with 32 Indian fishing boats from Bangladesh, a statement from Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Wednesday.
The search for the remaining 24 missing Indian fishermen is underway. Besides searching across the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in Bangladesh waters, Indian Coast Guard ships, hovercraft and aircraft are also carrying out search off West Bengal Coast.
“The fishing boats were escorted on Tuesday by two Bangladesh Coast Guard ships – Mansoor Ali and Sadhini Bangla – up to the IMBL where they were formally handed over to ICG ships Vijaya and Anmol,” said the statement.
The boats along with the fishermen were being escorted up to Kakdwip harbour where they will be handed over to the State Fisheries Authorities.
The boats were stranded and had taken shelter at Payra Port in Bangladesh approximately 135 kilometres from IMBL due to inclement weather and rough sea conditions in the Bay of Bengal.
“The coordinated response between Coast Guard agencies of India and Bangladesh demonstrates mutual commitment for safety of fishermen at sea and further strengthens the bilateral relationship between the two countries,” added the MoD.
Indian authorities applauded the Samaritan gesture from the Bangladesh Coast Guard, which comes at a time when a visit of their delegation to India is underway for Annual Zonal /Regional Commander’s meeting at Kolkata.