NEW DELHI: On the night of 7 December 20, Indian Coast Guard aircraft whilst on operational tasking in the Bay of Bengal noticed adrift fishing boat in Indian EEZ. The boat was contacted on VHF radio to which no response was received. The aircraft passed the information to Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Varad that was deployed in Bay of Bengal on another operational mission.
The ship immediately approached towards the boat factoring wind and sea conditions and located the boat in early hours of 8 December. The boat was identified to be Bangladeshi fishing boat with 19 crew members onboard. On investigation, the drifting boat was confirmed as Bangladesh fishing boat ‘Rana’. The boat had left Coxbazar (Bangladesh) on 15 November 2020 for fishing and remained adrift for long. The boat drifted into Indian EEZ due to break down in machinery.
The crew was found exhausted with no ration onboard and was provided with first aid, food and water by the Coast Guard ship. Bangladesh Coast Guard has been requested under the ambit of existing MOU between Indian Coast Guard and Bangladesh Coast Guard, to make necessary arrangements for taking over of the stranded fishing boat along with the crew at the pre designated location in vicinity of International Maritime Boundary Line.
The stranded boat is being towed by Coast Guard ship for further handing over to Bangladesh authorities.