Missing Indian fishing boat found after five-day search in Arabian Sea; all 11 crew safe

FISHING/AQUACULTURE WEEK
Photo: Indian Coast Guard

An Indian fishing boat that was initially reported as missing and believed to have sunk in the Arabian Sea was found by local authorities as the search for the vessel entered its fifth day on Wednesday, April 28.

The Indian Coast Guard has confirmed that Mercedes, a fishing vessel from Tamil Nadu, was located approximately 1,100 kilometres off Goa.

The vessel was sighted by a coast guard patrol aircraft on the morning (local time) of Wednesday. Shortly afterward, coast guard officials were able to contact the vessel’s crew via satellite phone.

The coast guard said all 11 of Mercedes‘ crew are safe.

The coast guard patrol and pollution response vessel ICGS Samudra Prahari has been despatched to Mercedes‘ position to escort it back to Tamil Nadu. The two vessels’ expected arrival is on Monday, May 3.

Officials said Mercedes sailed out of Tamil Nadu on April 6 to undertake deep-sea fishing west of Kerala.

The vessel was initially reported as having sunk after other fishermen told local authorities that they had sighted debris near its last known position. The coast guard’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai then sent out an alert via the International Safety Net to inform other vessels in the area to be on the lookout for the missing fishing boat.

The coast guard initiated the search effort on Saturday, April 24. The Indian Navy and some Good Samaritan vessels also provided assistance.

Officials said Mercedes was not carrying AIS, which would have enabled the vessel to be located earlier.


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