After battling the 'extremely severe' cyclonic storm Tauktae for two days and three nights in the Arabian Sea, a group of six fishermen including the boat owner safely returned to the Chowk coast in Uttan near Bhayandar on Tuesday night.
As many as 305 fishing vessels from the coastal villages in and around Uttan had ventured into the sea. After weather alerts that Tauktae will intensify into an extremely severe cyclonic storm, 227 fishing vessels which were out at sea, safely returned to harbor on Saturday and took shelter at safe ports on the Uttan coastline.
While 77 returned on the following day, one fishing vessel identified as "New Help Mary" boat which was on its return journey to Pali coast, got stuck in the cyclonic storm 12 nautical miles off the Uttan shoreline. The boat owner Justin Diamond Miranda and five other fishermen were on-board. The stuck-up fishing vessel was in touch with the authorities through wireless communication.
After getting instructions from authorities, Justin and his crew members tried to manoeuvre the boat in the direction of the wind with an aim to take shelter at the Dahanu port, but that also turned out to be an impossible task.
“Moreover the GPS showed a 12-hour journey of around 34 km to reach the Dahanu port. Waiting for rescue that never came, we were left with no other option and somehow managed to anchor the boat at the same spot only after three anchors cracked and we were left with limited rope. Despite having food we were unable to cook and remained hungry for more than 36 hours. It was like a whirlwind attacking us from all different directions. At one point I had lost hope, but the Almighty saved us,” said Justin Miranda.
By Tuesday evening, when the weather had improved and the sea was much calmer, the partly damaged “New Help Mary” boat resumed its journey at 6:30 pm and slowly reached the Uttan coast at around 9:30 pm.
The villagers had gathered to give a rousing welcome to the fishermen. “The coast guard team, police and the district administration remained helpless as the choppy weather conditions and stormy winds made the rescue operations next to impossible,” said fishing community leader Bernard D’mello.