New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Saturday brought the fishing boat Mercedes and its 11 fishermen onboard, who were missing since April 24, to their home port Thengapattanam in Tamil Nadu.
The ICG located Mercedes around 370 km from Lakshadweep islands last Wednesday and the 11 fishermen on board were found to be safe, its statement said.
Vikram, an ICG ship, escorted the fishing boat to Thengapattanam fishing harbour, it said. The ICG interceptor boat C-427 was deployed on Saturday to coordinate with Vikram and facilitate smooth entry of Mercedes along with the crew members to Thengapattanam fishing harbour, it added.
'The fishing boat with all crew was handed over to Assistant Director Fisheries Colachel for further disposal,' it noted.
Mercedes had left Thengapattnam fishing harbour in Tamil Nadu on April 6 with the 11 fishermen to go for deep sea fishing for 30 days towards the west of Kerala. Fisheries authorities of Tamil Nadu on April 24 saw the debris of other fishing boats operating in the area, presumed Mercedes to be sunk, and informed the ICG accordingly, the statement noted.
The ICG began its search and rescue mission for Mercedes on April 24 at a distance of about 1,100 km from Goa, it said.
'It was learnt that the fishing boat was not carrying AIS (automatic identification system) or any other transponder which could have assisted in early locating of the boat by the search units,' it added.
After four days of continuous search amid challenges of distance from mainland and weather, the missing boat was located around around 370 km from Lakshadweep Islands. ICG ship Vikram on deployment off Lakshadweep was diverted to render logistic and medical assistance to the crew, it said. PTI DSP AAR AAR