New Delhi, Jul 22 (PTI) Twelve crew members of a distressed merchant vessel were rescued by another merchant vessel near the Umargam coast in Gujarat with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) coordinating the entire operation, according to an official statement on Thursday.

The ICG's maritime rescue coordination centre (MRCC) in Mumbai received information on Wednesday afternoon that merchant vessel Kanchan -- with its 12 crew members -- was stranded near Umargam in Valsad, Gujarat, as its engine and electricity had stopped working due to contaminated fuel, the statement noted.

MRCC instantly activated the international safety net to identify all the vessels in its vicinity to assist Kanchan, the ICG's statement mentioned.

Merchant vessel Hermeez, which was in the vicinity of Kanchan, was quick to respond and immediately diverted towards the distressed boat, it noted.

"The weather in the area was inclement with winds gusting up to 50 knots and waves reaching up to the height of 3-3.5 metres.... Braving rough seas, Hermeez safely evacuated all the 12 crew of Kanchan in a daring night operation on Wednesday," it said.

Simultaneously, the Director General of Shipping has deployed its emergency tow vessel Water Lily for assisting Kanchan, which was expected to arrive at the coast by 7 AM on Thursday, it said.

"In addition, two tugs have also been deployed by the vessel owners which are also likely to reach by Thursday morning," it added.

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