The Indian Coast Guard on Sunday rescued 16 persons, three from Pakistan and 13 from Iran, who were left stranded by Somali pirates, off the Lakshadweep islands.
They were rescued from a fishing boat called Al Husaini, which was stranded more than 250 nautical miles west of Lakshadweep islands, by Coast Guard vessel ICGS Varuna.
According to an official communique from the Coast Guard, the fishing boat had departed from Kanraka/Chahbhar port in Iran on May 16 and was captured by the Somali pirates off Socotra. The pirates used the boat for 25 days and left it on June 10 after emptying food and fuel.
The Coast Guard received a request for assistance on June 21. On receiving the request, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre diverted merchant vessels in the proximity for assisting the boat.
Also the Coast Guard launched its aircraft from Kochi, which detected the vessel.
The Coast Guard aircraft diverted the ICGS Varuna for the rescue operation.
In the meantime, merchant vessels in the region were unable to provide assistance due to rough weather conditions. ICGS Varuna reached the area by June 22.
“Despite hostile weather conditions, Coast Guard vessel Varuna was able to provide essentials to the stranded boat crew. The ship also provided medical support to crew members. The fishing boat was later escorted to Kochi by ICGS Varuna in rough weather conditions,” the communication stated.
Further action on deporting the boat crew to their countries will be taken later. Recently, the Coast Guard had rescued crew of MV Asian Express, which sunk off Minicoy on June 13, and MV Mol which sunk off Mumbai on June 16.