Tuesday, 28 March, 2017 - 11:43
SL Navy hands over missing boat, Fahima Faheda, to ICG; crew on way to Puducherry
10 Jan 2017
The fishing boat Fahima Faheda (IND/AN/SA/MM/1013) which was missing from Port Blair since 12 December last year has been traced at Sri Lanka and Indian Coast Guard is working with A&N Administration and Sri Lankan authorities for safe return of the boat along with six fishermen.
The boat sailed from Port Blair on 27 November last year with six crew members for fishing in Southern Group of Islands. However, when boat did not return till 12 December, the relatives of the crew lodged an FIR at Aberdeen Police Station. When information reached Coast Guard authorities, massive search operation was launched involving number of ships and aircraft. Since exact area of operation of the boat was not known to anyone, search operation became difficult and entire sea area of A&N Islands was searched.
The Coast Guard also alerted maritime authorities of neighbouring countries including Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh, requesting them to search in their respective areas. The International Safety Net was also activated in the entire sea area, requesting all ships to maintain lookout for the missing boat. However, there was no news of the missing boat till 4 January 2017.
On January 5 this year, one of the crew members called his relatives to inform that they had reached Sri Lanka. Later, Sri Lankan authorities also confirmed Indian Coast Guard that all six crew members were safe as the boat was rescued by Sri Lankan fishermen and handed over to Sri Lankan Navy.
Thereafter, Indian Coast Guard in coordination with Indian High Commission at Colombo planned for repatriation and return of the boat. The boat was brought by Sri Lankan Navy to International Boundary, where it was handed over to Indian Coast Guard Ship Ameya on January 9. The boat and the crew are being brought to Karaikal Port in Puducherry, where A&N Administration and Fisheries authorities will receive and takeover the boat and fishermen.
To avert such incidents, Coast Guard has been insisting that fishermen should take all safety measures, while fishing at sea. These measures include carriage of Distress Alert Transmitters (DAT), life saving equipment, fishing in group and informing fisheries authorities regarding their area of fishing. A toll-free helpline number 1554 has also been established by Coast Guard for Maritime Search & Rescue.