MANGALORE: Close on the heels of Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Varuna rescuing 22 crew members, including 18¬†Maldivians¬†and four Indians on board MV Asian Express,¬†a Maldivianregistered cargo vessel on June 12, this vessel in Lakshadweep Islands on Sunday saved 16 lives from fishing¬†boat Al Husaini¬†left stranded by pirates. These include 13 Iranians and three Pakistanis, more than 250 nautical miles west of Lakshadweep islands.
ICGS Varuna, proved its mettle as saviour at sea in yet another lifesaving mission in adverse weather conditions. The fishing boat had departed Kanraka/Chahbhar port Iran on May 16 was captured by¬†Somali pirates¬†off Socotra. The pirates after utilising the boat for 25 days left it stranded on June 10 emptying food and fuel. Indian Coast Guard was requested for assistance on June 21. MRCC diverted merchant vessels in proximity to render assistance.
Also,¬†Coast Guard¬†launched its aircraft from Kochi and it detected the distressed vessel on June 21. The CG aircraft diverted ICGS Varuna for the rescue mission. In the meantime, merchant vessels in the area were unable to provide assistance due to rough weather conditions. ICGS Varuna reached the area by June 22 and despite prevailing hostile weather sea state was able to provide bare essentials to stranded boat and crew.
The ship also provided medical support to the distraught crew. ICGS Varuna escorted the fishing boat to Kochi in prevailing rough weather conditions. The ship is commanded by Commander K M Arun Kumar. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at Mumbai that is responsible for coordinating air-sea rescue in Mumbai coordinated the rescue mission. MRCC works under Indian Coast Guard, Commander R Vijay of ICGS said.