Rameswaram: Amid high drama both at sea and on land, the Indian Coast Guard at its Mandapam station near here on Friday morning rescued eight fishermen of Rameswaram stranded at the Seventh Islet on the Sri Lankan side of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
According to a Coast Guard release, the officers manning the post at Mandapam received a distress message at about 7 am (Friday) from the state officials seeking “search and rescue” of stranded fishing vallam (country boat) with 8 fishermen in it, said to have stranded at Seventh Islet in Gulf of Mannar. The Coast Guard at once launched two hovercrafts on the mission to rescue the fishermen and their vallam. The stranded craft with its men was found “stranded 1.5 Nm (nautical miles) across the IMBL in Sri Lankan waters”, said the ICG release.
It said the boat with crew “was being apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy”. The hovercraft then contacted the Sri Lankan naval ship by VHF and requested for release of the boat and its men as it had drifted into the Lankan waters “post distress”. The case was also taken up with the Indian High Commission at Colombo through the ICG regional headquarters and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre-both are based at Chennai-for securing the release of the vallam and fishermen.
After all this negotiation and pleading, the Lankan Navy handed over the vallam and crew to the ICG hovercraft which brought them safely to the ICG station at Mandapam. The fishermen were then subjected to medical examination and handed over to the state officials, who restored them to their anxious families....