Cyclone Tauktae: 23 fishermen who set out from Kerala feared lost at sea

According to officials, the fishermen set out at sea in two boats early May, before the cyclone alert was issued.
Turbulent waves crashing onto a sea shore in Kerala
Turbulent waves crashing onto a sea shore in Kerala
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Twenty-three fishermen who set out from the Kerala coast in two separate fishing boats are feared missing, said officials of Fisheries Department. The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) and the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had warned the fishermen at sea to return to the shore as Cyclone Tauktae was intensifying. However, the officials stated that there has been no communication from the two boats.

Of the two, 15 fishermen are part of a fishing boat named ‘Ajmir Shah’, which set out from Kozhikode’s Beypore coast, while eight fishermen are part of a boat named ‘Andavar Thunai’, which set out from Kochi. The fishing boat, Andavar Thunai, is owned by Nagapattinam native Manivel and the fishermen onboard are all reportedly Tamil Nadu natives.

According to Fisheries department officials, both boats had ventured into the sea earlier this month, before the cyclone alert was issued. “These are gill net boats, which set out to sea to fish continuously for up to three weeks. Some of the similar boats, which had gone from Kerala, have even harboured in the Gujarat and Thengapattanam coast of Tamil Nadu after the warning was issued. So we can understand how far the boats had been,” said Aneesh P, Assistant Director of Fisheries in Ernakulam district.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that some fishermen have landed in Lakshadweep Islands. However, there is no confirmation if these are the fishermen of the ‘Andavar Thunai’ boat, said the official.

According to Fisheries Department officials in Beypore, the missing fishing boat Ajmir Shah had set out near Mangalore coast. “The owner of the boat said they had set out near Mangalore coast. We have given information to the Coast Guard and they are searching,” said the official.

Meanwhile, on the night of May 14, the Indian Coast Guard on Saturday recused three fishermen who had set off to sea from Kerala’s Kannur. Coast Guard ship Vikram rescued the fishing boat named ‘Badhriya’, which had left the Talessary Harbour on May 9.

The fishermen were provided medical emergency treatment onboard the ICG ship. The ICG headquarters in Kerala and Mahe coordinated the search and rescue operation in the state. District Commander DIG Sanatan Jena said that despite the extremely rough sea conditions, ICG ships were out at sea rescuing the fishermen trapped in rough sea and wind conditions.

(With IANS input)


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