The importance of fixing the distress alert transmitter (DAT) on fishing vessels came to the fore when the Indian Coast Guard personnel rescued eight fishermen from a boat here on Saturday.

Addressing presspersons here on Monday, Padam Shekhar Jha, commandant, Indian Coast Guard, Karnataka, said that fishermen from Tamil Nadu aboard their boat “Thank You Jesus” sent a distress call when its engine failed.

The boat was six nautical miles south of the Old Mangalore Port; it was raining and the sea was rough at that time.

He said that one could not speak using the DAT; one could only press a button on it in an emergency and it would send distress signals to the respective maritime rescue coordination centres.

The signals would help identify the direction and position of the boat.

In this case, the distress signal was received by the maritime rescue coordination centre, Chennai, and it was passed on to the maritime rescue sub-centre in New Mangalore. Mr. Jha said that soon after receiving the message at 6.30 a.m. on Saturday, the Coast Guard personnel instructed a fishing vessel “May Flower”, which was operating in the vicinity of the vessel in distress, to sail close to it and provide assistance.

At the same time, the Coast Guard ship “Kasturba Gandhi” sailed from New Mangalore Port to rescue fishermen. It could reach the fishing boat at 1.30 p.m. All eight fishermen were rescued.

He said that as the boat needed immediate repairs, the Coast Guard ship towed it to New Mangalore Port at 7.30 p.m. Leaving the vessel there would have resulted in danger as the sea was rough.

To a question, Mr. Jha said the Coast Guard supplied 40 DATs to fishermen here last year.

This year, it had distributed 15 DATs so far. It would provide another 20 DATs to them by the year-end.

He suggested that the State Government distribute DATs to all fishermen who venture into the sea for fishing.

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