Mumbai: As Cyclone Ockhi weakened over the sea area with landfall over south Gujarat and north Maharashtra, the Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft continued their efforts to locate and provide assistance to stranded fishermen at sea. During the ongoing search and rescue operation, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft on search mission sighted cluster of fishing boats in the sea area of Lakshadweep Islands.
The Coast Guard ship Samrat was immediately diverted to provide assistance to the fishing boats. ICGS Samrat on reaching the indicated position in the morning on Tuesday located 15 fishing boats with 14 boats belonging to Tamil Nadu and 1 boat belonging to Kerala respectively.
These fishing boats were located in the cluster of 6 and 9 boats about 40 kms apart from each other about 125 km from Bitra Island. During the rescue operations by ICGS Samrat, 184 crew of these fishing boats were provided assistance of food and water. It was also found that 3 fishermen out of these were severely dehydrated and critical first aid was provided by the ship to stabilise the vitals.
ICGS Samrat has been further directed to vector the fishing boats to shelter area near Bitra island. The Coast Guard Region (West) is maintaining extensive search and rescue efforts for the stranded fishermen by deploying over 22 surface platforms and 5 aircraft. Regular updates on status of fishermen and fishing boats is being shared with the concerned Fisheries Department and State Administration.
An international lookout notice has also been raised by Indian Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, to inform merchant vessels to report position of stranded fishing boats/survivors in effected sea area of the cyclone. During Cyclone Ockhi, the Indian Coast Guard till date in western region has saved 367 precious lives at sea.