At least 15 Rohingya refugees died as a trawler sank in the Bay of Bengal near St Martin’s Island this morning while trying to go to Malaysia illegally, Lt Hayat Ibna Siddique, media officer of Bangladesh Coast Guard, has confirmed.
Sixty-seven have been rescued alive and 40 others remain missing so far at the time of filing this report at 12:30pm.
The victims, mostly women, are residents of different Rohingya camps located in Teknaf and Ukhia upazila of Cox’s Bazar, our district correspondent reports quoting officials of Coast Guard.
The trawler capsized in the Bay around 7:00am today after hitting a stone, said Lieutenant Commander of Coast Guard Naim Ul Haque.
The incident occurred around 7km off St Martin’s Island.
At least 300 people started for Malaysia on two trawlers from Monakhali area around 8:00pm yesterday, said Lt Commander M Hamidul Islam, media officer of Coast Guard.
After 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 10:30am, Office-in-Charge of local police station Pradip Kumar Das told The Daily Star.