Indian Coast Guard (ICG) rescued five fishermen from fishing boat MFV ‘Kalamma’, which was in distress off Bomilla Creek near Hutbay on 9 May 2021. The ICG Regional Headquarters at Port Blair received an unregistered Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT) alert from DAT ID-85068 at around 1100 hrs. On receipt of information, the ICG promptly launched search and rescue operation and sailed out Coast Guard Ship C-412 from Hutbay for investigation and assistance.
Since the alert was activated from an unregistered DAT, the details of the boat and its owner were not available with the ICG. The information was immediately shared with Fisheries authorities with a request to provide the details of person/boat issued with said DAT.
Braving rough seas and strong winds, at around 1430 hrs, the Coast Guard Ship successfully located the distressed boat and provided the boat crew with basic necessities and first aid. The boat had sailed from Junglighat on 03 May 2021 for fishing. While fishing in Bomilla Creek, during night on 08 May 2021, the boat got toppled due to high swell and inclement weather and its engine got damaged due to ingress of salt water.
The boat was taken under tow by Coast Guard Ship C-412 and was brought to Hutbay at around 1945 hrs on 09 May 2021. All five boat crew members are reported to be safe and healthy. The boat alongwith its crew was handed over to local police at Hutbay for further formalities.
The instant case highlights the importance of carriage of DATs by fishing boats and its effectiveness in saving lives at sea. ICG at various forums, has been highlighting the significance of registration of DATs by fishermen for effective SAR response. Such successful search and rescue (SAR) mission reinforces the trust and confidence of the fishermen on the ICG as a leading SAR agency.