As many as 516 fishermen, who had been stranded in Bangladesh, along with 32 fishing boats were handed over to the West Bengal State Fisheries authorities at Kakdwip fishing harbour, officials said on Wednesday.
“The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in a coordinated operation with Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) successfully repatriated 516 fishermen along with 32 Indian fishing boats from Bangladesh,” said a statement issued by the Indian Coast Guard. The fishing boats had strayed into Bangladesh waters due to rough sea and strong currents on July 6 and 7.
The Bangladesh Coast Guard offered shelter to the fishermen at Payra Port. They were also provided with food, fresh water and fuel to return to India. The boats started on July 16 and were escorted by Bangladesh Coast Guard ships up to the International Maritime Boundary line (IMBL) for repatriation, where they were taken over by the Indian Coast Guard ships Vijaya and Amogh, read the statement.
Meanwhile, out the 61 fishermen, who had gone missing into the Bay of Bengal on July 7, 24 are yet to be rescued. The search for those missing Indian fishermen is in progress with the help of the Bangladesh Coast Guard, naval ships and aircraft on Bangladesh waters.
The Indian Coast Guard ships, hovercraft and aircraft are also carrying out the search operation off the West Bengal Coast and along IMBL. Earlier, 37 fishermen had been rescued.
The fishermen had started from Namkhana in South 24 Parganas district on four trawlers — FB Nayan, FB Dashabhuja, FB Babaji and FB Joy Jogiraj.