The four fishermen who made it back to the shore had been stranded at sea after the engine of their boat failed.

4 out of 7 missing Kerala fishermen return to shore 3 from Kollam still missingImage for representation
news Missing Saturday, July 20, 2019 - 15:04

The four missing fishermen, who were reported missing after they went sea from the coast of Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram district, got back to shore at around noon on Saturday. However, three other fishermen hailing from Neendakara in Kollam district, whose boat capsized at sea, are yet to be found.

The fishermen were stranded at sea after the engine of their boat stopped working in the wee hours of Friday. The four fishermen were reported missing by other fishermen as they did not reach the shore by Friday evening. By around Saturday morning, however, the fishermen were able to restart the engine and came to the shore all by themselves.

According to Benny, one of the four fishermen, their boat’s engine failed while they were at around 20 nautical miles away from the sea. “The boat drifted a little further and luckily we were able to anchor it. If not, the waves should have drifted the boat further into the sea,” Benny told media from a hospital in Vizhinjam.

After the fishermen were reported missing, there were protests by the fishing community who alleged that the government was not acting to find the missing men. After the outrage, around 10 fishing boats set out to sea to look for the fishermen on Saturday morning. On the way, they saw some of the missing fishermen making their way back to the shore.

“No authorities came to help us when we were in trouble. In the end, our brethren had to themselves set out to sea to look for us, without any security aid. But luckily, we were able to restart our engine before that and could come back alive. We were only 20 nautical miles away and even saw ships passing by but they did not stop to check with us. We think those ships were not informed about fishermen going missing,” said Benny.

Meanwhile, officials of the Department of Fisheries in Thiruvananthapuram told TNM that the Indian Coast Guard had been searching for the fishermen. “The boats which the fisheries department have can only go a short distance. But we were informed that Indian Coast Guard had informed their ship about the missing fishermen and it was conducting a search,” said the official.

Meanwhile, the three fishermen who went to sea from the coast of Neendakara in Kollam district on Friday morning are still missing. The boat, which had a total of five fishermen on board, capsized due to rough seas. Two of them had returned by swimming back to the shore on Friday afternoon. Officials of Fisheries Department in Kollam told TNM that the search is on for the three missing men.

In the wake of fishermen going missing at sea and with the Southwest monsoon gaining strength in the past three days and sea turning rough, Minister for Fisheries J Mercykutty Amma told media that action will be taken against those boat owners who compel fishermen to venture into sea in bad weather.

Read: Seven fishermen reported missing as heavy rains lash Kerala

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