The Navy and Coast Guard on Saturday continued search operations for four of the 11 trawlers that went missing when heavy storms lashed West Bengal on Friday. Five trawlers have been spotted on different rivers in Bangladesh, while one trawler has sunk, after heavy rains lashed the shores of West Bengal on Friday.
However, all the 17 fishermen on board the sunk trawler are safe and have found shelter in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, four trawlers remain traceless.
“11 trawlers were missing at daybreak when search operations began on Saturday. Contact could not be established with four till the evening,” said L N Meena, superintendent of police, South 24 parganas.
To help in the search and rescue operations, the Navy is dispatching an R class ship with Cheetah helicopters. A Navy and two coast guard vessels are already on the job.
A Navy spokesperson said that inclement weather is still preventing the search operations by a Dornier aircraft.
The West Bengal government already requested the Bangladesh government not to take legal action against the fishermen’s trawlers that entered the neighbouring country’s territory on Friday after a cyclone hit the Bay of Bengal.
“We have requested the Bangladesh government not to detain any trawler that might have crossed over to their waters due to the inclement weather,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday night.
"The fishermen of Ananadamoyee Trawler capsized at Patuakhali area in Barishal district of Bangladesh on Friday. However, all the 17 fishermen were rescued by the other fishing boats,” Laxmi Narayan Meena, superintendent of police, South 24 parganas district, said.
The officer said that the Bangladesh government has been cooperative and all the five other trawlers that entered their territory are safe. There were 85 fishermen in these five trawlers.
“These five trawlers are coming back. However, we still have no trace of four other trawlers. We are trying our best to spot the missing trawlers,” Meena told HT on Saturday, as the rescuer operations continue.
C M Jatua, Union minister of state, information and broadcast, and Shyamal Mondal, West Bengal minister of state, Sunderbans affairs, both of whom are public representatives from the South 24 parganas district, are supervising the rescue operations since Friday.