At least 15 Rohingya refugees died after a trawler on its way to Malaysia sank in the Bay of Bengal near St Martin’s Island this morning. Lieutenant Hayat Ibna Siddique, media officer of Bangladesh Coast Guard, has confirmed.
65 people have been rescued alive so far. According to sources, the victims, mostly women, are residents of different Rohingya camps located in Teknaf and Ukhia Upazila of Cox’s Bazar.
The trawler capsized in the Bay around 7:00 am today after hitting a stone, said Lieutenant Commander of Coast Guard Naim Ul Haque.
At least 300 people started for Malaysia on two trawlers from the Monakhali area around 8:00 pm yesterday, said Lt Commander M Hamidul Islam, media officer of Coast Guard.
After a few hours, one of the trawlers capsized in the Bay, he said. The other trawler has not been located yet.
The death toll may rise further, he added.
Three units of Coast Guard, Border Guard Bangladesh, Navy and St Martin’s Boat Owners’ Association have been conducting the rescue operation jointly.
“All the bodies have been sent to Shah Parir Dwip in Teknaf around 12:30 am,” Office-in-Charge of Teknaf police station Pradip Kumar Das said.
Colonel Sohail Rana, commander of the Teknaf Coast Guard, said the drowning trawler had about 120 passengers on the board. The rescue operation began shortly after the accident. Rescue is still going on.