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Two Indian fishing trawlers suspected missing, nearly 100 traced in Bangladesh waters | India News

KOLKATA: After a request from the Indian Coast Guard, Bangladeshi authorities traced a fishing trawler from Kakdwip in West Bengal’s South 24-Parganas to a location nearly 60 nautical miles (about 111 km) across the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) on Saturday. All 13 fishermen on board FB Tara Shankar are safe. As a Bangladesh Navy ship was towing the FB Tara Shankar to the mouth of the Pussur River in Bangladesh, nearly a 100 more Indian trawlers from Kakdwip were found in the vicinity. The fishermen on board claimed that they had sought shelter at the river mouth due to extremely severe weather and high seas.
Indian and Bangladeshi authorities are not convinced though. They suspect that the fishing trawlers sneaked into Bangladeshi territorial waters in search of a better catch of Hilsa and took shelter at the river mouth after weather conditions deteriorated. Thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding between the two neighbouring countries to ensure safety of fishermen in the North Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh is returning the fishermen without any legal action. Nikon Maity, secretary of the fishermen’s association in Kakdwip, however, maintained that the trawlers were fishing in Indian waters when the storm took them across the IMBL. According to him, two trawlers FB Dashabhuja and FB Nayan are still unaccounted for with nearly 30 fishermen on board. The Indian Coast Guard, however, said that they have not been informed of any missing trawler from West Bengal save for the FB Tara Shankar.
“A coordinated operation was launched by the Indian and Bangladeshi Coast Guards to track FB Tara Shankar. After receiving a telephonic message from the assistant director (fisheries), Diamond Harbour about the missing trawler, the Indian Coast Guard regional headquarters in Kolkata got in touch with Bangladesh Coast Guard west zone headquarters in Mongla with a request to trace the vessel. A Bangladesh naval ship on patrol was diverted and a Bangladesh Coast Guard ship also sailed from Mongla harbour on Saturday. FB Tara Shankar was finally located near the Mongla Fair Way Buoy in the evening and towed towards the Pussur River when the other trawlers were spotted. As the sea state is rough, the Bangladesh naval vessel guided the Indian trawlers westward via a riverine/coastal route to the Haribhanga River from where Indian authorities took charge,” a senior Indian Coast Guard official said. Fishermen’s association have also been advised to take the trawlers to Kakdwip via a riverine/coastal route to avoid further accidents.
On Saturday, the Indian Coast Guard also rescued a fishing boat from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh near the Odisha coast. The FB Yohana Devudu was traced by ICGS Sarojini Naidu and towed back to the Paradip harbour on Sunday. All eight fishermen on board are safe.

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