Indian Coast Guard rescues 16 Guyana vessel personnel

Rescue op triggered by distress call from the wife of a missing Indian national

Somendra SharmaUpdated: Saturday, August 27, 2022, 11:04 PM IST
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The 16 persons who were rescued from MT Vora | FPJ

A frantic search for three missing Indian nationals from a Guyana-flagged vessel led the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) to 13 other personnel from different countries on a boat adrift in the Malaysian waters on Friday.

The rescued personnel are at present on a Malaysian island. The authorities are ascertaining the reasons for switching vessels and the consequent motor failure of the boat. Preliminary enquiry has revealed that the boat’s engine stopped after it ran out of fuel, following which the crew went without food and communication for a day.

The panic button was pressed when the wife of an Indian national dialled the Directorate General (DG) of Shipping. Late on Thursday, DG Shipping sent an email to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Mumbai), which found that not one but three Indian nationals, including a Mumbai resident, had gone missing from the Guyana flagged tanker MT Vora. While the switching of vessels was procedural, MT Vora later lost contact with the boat.

The ICG swiftly conducted the rescue operation in coordination with Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. An official told the Free Press Journal that the ICG undertakes regular operations in the Indian Maritime Search and Rescue Region with these countries, as well as Oman, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The official said, “The Indian nationals were meant to disembark on the Malaysian coast. As the last position of the boat was believed to be somewhere nearby, we coordinated with the Malaysian authorities, who found not three but 16 crew members.”

In a statement issued on Saturday, the ICG praised its poise and leverage in responding to the distress call of “fellow countrymen, away from the Indian search and rescue region in foreign waters in the shortest possible time”. “The seamless coordination with three countries in the Indo-Pacific region has put forth the Indian Coast Guard capabilities,” the agency stated.

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