Indian Coast Guard locates missing fishing boat Mercedes at high sea
Fishing boat MercedesPhoto: Indian Coast Guard

Indian Coast Guard locates missing fishing boat Mercedes at high sea

Mumbai, April 28, 2021

The Indian Coast Guard, in a successful search and rescue operation launched four days ago at high sea, has located the missing Tamil Nadu fishing boat Mercedes at a distance of about 1,100 km from Goa.

The boat had sailed for deep sea fishing west of Kerala on April 6 from Thengapattnam fishing harbour in Tamil Nadu with 11 crew on board for a 30-day voyage.

On April 24, the Tamil Nadu fisheries authorities intimated they had received reports of the sighting of debris by other fishing boats operating in the area, presuming the Mercedes had sunk.

The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Center (MRCC) of Indian Coast Guard at Mumbai activated International Safety Net to alert merchant vessels transiting near the reported position to look out for the missing boat.

Simultaneously, ICGS Samudra Prahari on Concurrent Deployment was diverted for search.

MRCC (Mumbai) coordinated with merchant vessel Maersk Horsburgh to join the search operation alongwith fishing boats operating in the area. As the reported position was located in Pakistan Search and Rescue Region, MRCC Karachi was also requested for assistance as per IMO norms in vogue.

Considering the distance from mainland, Indian Navy was requested for launch of Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft. It was learnt that the fishing boat was not carrying AIS or any other transponder which could have assisted in early locating of the boat by the search units.

After four days of continuous search amidst challenges of distance from mainland and weather, the missing boat was located around 200 miles (around 370 kilometers) from Lakshadweep Islands.

An ICG Dornier aircraft located and corroborated the presence of the fishing boat today morning.

MRCC (Mumbai) established communication with the fishing boat on satellite phone held by the boat and ascertained the crew to be safe. In the interim, information was also received from TN fisheries authorities that the crew of IFB Mercedes had called up home through satellite phone to indicate that they are safe.

"ICG ship on deployment off Lakshadweep was diverted to render logistic and medical assistance to the crew. The fishing boat is returning to its base port under escort of ICG ship and would reach around May 3," a press release from the Ministry of Defence said.

The Indian Coast Guard as the National Maritime Search and Rescue Coordinator has saved around 10,000 lives over 3,400 missions averaging almost one life saved per two days.

The Indian Coast Guard has been advocating fitment of AIS, Distress Alert Transponders and Long Range two-way communication mechanisms for enhancing safety of fishers proceeding for deep sea fishing, the release added.


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