Tragedy on high seas: Indian Coast Guard rescues 8 fishermen; one dead, one missing

The 10-member boat crew reported flooding onboard and was bailing out water to prevent the boat from sinking.
Indian Coast Guard ship C-440 brings rescued fishermen to Chennai on Thursday | Express
Indian Coast Guard ship C-440 brings rescued fishermen to Chennai on Thursday | Express

CHENNAI: One fisherman died and another went missing after a boat with 10-member crew started sinking as seawater seeped into it through a hole. The vessel was involved in fishing in deep sea 95 nautical miles off Chennai late on Wednesday. Eight other fishermen were brought to safety by the Indian Coast Guard on Thursday.

Acting on an SOS call from the boat, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Chennai, launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation with the participation of Coast Guard ships and merchant vessels passing through the spot.

On Wednesday, Indian Coast Guard received a message relayed by National Data Centre, Mumbai, regarding distress onboard Indian fishing boat Periya Nayagi approximately 60 nautical miles east of Krishnapatnam. The MRCC immediately diverted three merchant vessels to provide assistance to the distressed boat. The 10-member boat crew reported flooding onboard and was bailing out water to prevent the boat from sinking.

No communication could be made with boat

The MRCC requested a nearby merchant vessel to take the boat crew onboard for passage to Chennai considering the safety of the fishermen. But the boat crew was reluctant to board the merchant vessel for fear of losing the boat.

The Indian Coast Guard later facilitated a conference call through satellite phone between the crew and the owner of the boat to encourage the crew to board the merchant vessel, but the crew decided to stay with the boat. The boat commenced its voyage to Krishnapatnam at 9.30 pm on Wednesday night. Since the boat was out of mobile coverage area and only had VHF radio set, which has a limited range, no communication could be established with the boat. Around 11.55 pm, MRCC received a distress call again when the boat was 50 nautical miles east of Krishnapatnam. MV Singapore Bulker that was passing nearby arrived in position and rescued nine survivors.

But one of the fishermen who was in a critical condition died. The Indian Coast Guard Ship C-440 was sailed with despatch from Chennai and the eight fishermen were taken on board. The body of the dead fisherman was handed over to the fisheries officials in Chennai on Thursday. The eight survivors are said to be healthy and a search is one for the missing fisherman.

Water seeped through hole

Water was seeping through a hole, and the crew was trying to prevent the boat from sinking. After a distress call was received from the boat, Periya Nayagi, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Chennai, launched a rescue operation with the participation of Coast Guard ships and merchant vessels

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