KOLKATA: Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Tuesday said search operations are underway for 24 fishermen who went missing in the Bay of Bengal on July 7 after venturing into the deep seas in inclement weather.
It said the Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG), naval ships and aircraft were conducting search operations for the missing fishermen in the country's waters, while ICG ships, hovercraft and aircraft were carrying out the search off the coast of West Bengal and along the International Maritime Border Line.
Twenty-five fishermen had gone missing after two fishing boats allegedly sank at the confluence of the Haribhanga river and the Bay of Bengal on July 7, amid heavy rain and rough seas.
One of them, Rabindranath Das, managed to remain afloat for four days, holding onto a piece of bamboo, before being rescued by a Bangladesh-flagged cargo ship near the Chittagong port on July 11.
Meanwhile, the BCG repatriated 516 fishermen, along with 32 Indian fishing boats, on Tuesday, an ICG spokesperson said here.
"These boats were stranded and had taken shelter at Payra Port in Bangladesh, approximately 135 km from the IMBL, due to inclement weather and rough sea conditions in the Bay of Bengal," she said.
The official said that the fishing boats were escorted by two Bangladesh Coast Guard ships up to the IMBL, where they were formally handed over to the Indian Coast Guard.
The boats and the fishermen are being escorted to the Kakdwip harbour, from where they had sailed, and will be handed over to the West Bengal Fisheries authorities.