New Delhi: Indian Coast Guard (ICG) initiated series of pre-emptive measures from the first sign of weather disturbance in the Bay of Bengal on Apr 23, 2019, and implemented lessons learnt from Cyclone Ochi to ensure the safety of lives at sea. Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Fani is presently 260 nautical miles SE of Vishakhapatnam and likely to intensify further and cross Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali to the south of Puri around May 03, 2019.
Pre-Emptive Measures – One Week in Advance
Consequent to formation of low pressure in South East Bay of Bengal around April 23, 2019, Indian Coast Guard initiated a series of pre-emptive measures to prevent loss of fishermen lives. ICG formations were put on high alert and high state of preparedness. Fisheries Authorities, State Authorities and local administration were warned since April 23, 2019, onwards for precautionary measures. Close liaison is being maintained with the State Administration, various departments and Indian Meteorological Department to ensure widespread precautionary measures in the affected areas. Indian Coast Guard Remote Operating Stations located in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal are issuing Security/ Safety messages on the radio in Vernacular languages.
Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft were deployed along the East coast since April 24, 2019, for issuance of advisories and warnings in vernacular languages to fishermen at sea and for their safe return to ports. International Safety Net (ISN) was activated on April 24, 2019, in the Bay of Bengal by Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (Chennai/ Mumbai) requesting transiting Merchant vessels to advise and warn fishermen to return harbour/ take shelter at the nearest fishing harbour and render assistance, if required and is continuing since them.
Transmission of Navigational Telex (NAVTEX) warnings commenced on April 24, 2019. Preparedness meetings were conducted by Chief Secretaries at Chennai on April 24, 2019, and Kolkata on April 30, 2019. The meetings were attended by ICG representatives.
Deployment of ICG Surface and Air Assets- Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry coast – nine ships, Odisha and West Bengal – five ships, Indian Coast Guard Ships have been kept standby for mobilization of Disaster Relief Material in coordination with State Authorities at Chennai and Vizag. Four Dornier sorties are being launched every day on an average for alerting fishing boats from Chennai, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.
Safety of Fishing Boats- ICG coordinated with Fisheries Authorities of respective states and confirmed that no fishing boats are presently operating at sea. AdditionallyICG ships and aircraft deployed at sea are also keeping a lookout for warning/shepherding of fishing boats if sighted/located at sea.
Special Community Interaction programme at 12 places was conducted at Tuticorin, Pamban, Villupuram, Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Nizampatnam, Visakhapatnam, Uppalanaka (Kakinada), Paradip, Haldia, Gopalpur and Frazergunj for fishermen and coastal populace for undertaking safety measures.