A group of fishermen from Yemen and two other nations on a 'dhow' that went adrift in the Arabian Sea were rescued off the Gujarat coast by Indian authorities, a Coast Guard official said. The 'Al Bom Marize', a Yemeni fishing boat sailed on June 5, but developed a technical snag a day later. It was cast adrift on the high seas for more than a month, until it was located by a Coast Guard Dornier plane which initially mistook it for a Pakistani boat in Indian waters close to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) yesterday. A senior Coast Guard official, who requested anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media, said after the boat with six crew members - three Yemenis, one Somalian and two Tanzanians - developed a technical snag, it went adrift. For almost a month, the crew tried to seek help from merchant navy boats passing by, but they claimed they were denied help, possibly due to fears they could be pirates. The Arabian Sea proved notorious for the fishermen, especially when gusty winds make the waters very turbulent. When Coast Guard officials intercepted the boat in Indian waters, the crew had turned weak and dehydrated due to lack of food and water. The communication system of the boat was not operational and the batteries of the two handheld GPS devices had drained completely. "We initially mistook it for a Pakistani boat because there is a fishing ban on the western coast during the monsoon. When our Dornier flew close to the boat, the crew started waiving their hands for help," the official added. The Coast Guard unit at Porbunder then diverted its vessel ICGS 'Samudra Prahari' to the spot. "We have confiscated the documents from the ship and it has been brought to Porbunder today.
Communication with the crew is also difficult as they cannot understand English. We are seeking help of an interpreter now," the official added.