In a rescue operation coordinated by Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, and the district headquarters of the Coast Guard in Fort Kochi, 11 fishermen from Kanyakumari were rescued from a sinking boat off the coast of Kerala on Saturday.

The fishing boat Arpuda Matha, which set out to sea from Thoppumpady on September 10, was some 160 nautical miles west of Beypore in Kerala on Friday when it replayed a distress radio call which was picked up by the Panamanian-flagged tanker MT Aquarius Wing.

The message was further passed on to the Coast Guard’s district headquarters No. 4 located in Kochi.

At the request of the Coast Guard, the tanker rescued the fishermen on board the sinking boat in the early hours of Saturday.

The Coast Guard then launched a Chetak helicopter and a ship, C-134, to bring ashore the stranded fishermen from the merchant ship.

The efforts put in by various units resulted in the successful rescue of the stranded fishermen some 20 nautical miles off Kochi. Heavy showers, sea swell and strong winds coupled with poor visibility hampered the operation, the agency said.

The fishermen were airlifted in three batches and handed over to the Coastal Police.

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