Lost trawlers traced, seven missing

Lost trawlers traced, seven missing

A major tragedy was averted on Monday after 40 of the 42 trawlers, that went missing on Sunday night off the coast of Bay of Bengal, were traced to safety. Two vessels capsized, leaving seven persons missing.

State Sunderbans development minister Manturam Pakhira told Deccan Herald that of the 42 fishing trawlers, 30 were traced to coastal Odisha, where they had taken shelter to save themselves from the sudden storm which had hit coastal areas following a depression in Bay of Bengal. Ten other trawlers were traced to Petuaghat in east Midnapore on late Monday morning.

“We have been able to establish wireless contact with most of the trawlers and all the people in the 40 trawlers are safe. While two trawlers, Suryanarayan and Maharudra, capsized in the storm, all 14 fishermen from the latter vessel have been rescued. Suryanarayan had 15 people of which seven are still missing,” said the minister, who has been overseeing the rescue operation from Jambudwip island near Sunderbans.

Dr Kiran Lal Das, the assistant director of Fisheries (Marine) department, told the Deccan Herald that the search for the seven missing persons is on and the Indian Coast Guard has been informed. 

“The Coast Guard is running a search and rescue operation. Other fishing trawlers are also in the area looking for the missing people and the capsized trawler, Suryanarayan. Eight of the men in the vessel were rescued by another trawler, which was nearby,” he said.

Das further said that the trawlers with around 15 fishermen in each, had gone to sea for fishing few days ago. 

“Contact between them and the Fishermen’s Association’s liaison unit was lost during the storm on Sunday night. Sometimes trawlers are unable to make radio contact, which leads to panic,” he said. 

There was no prior information on last night’s storm from any of the usual sources like the meteorological department or the state government’s disaster management department, he added. 

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