Eleven Tamil Nadu fishermen who went missing after their boat was allegedly hit by a ship off the Oman coast last week are safe and they are being brought to Kanyakumari, the Indian Coast Guard said on Thursday. "@IndiaCoastGuard ship Vikram escorting fishing boat Mercedes with 11 crew about 25 NM from Suheli Par #Lakshadweep. Ship alongwith FB likely to arrive at Thengapattanam harbour #Kanyakumari #TamilNadu on 01 May", the Coast Guard said in a tweet on Thursday.
In a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, the Coast Guard said in a sea-air coordinated operation ICG Dornier located and established communication with the missing Indian fishing boat Mercedes 200 NM NW of #Minicoy. "All 11 crew safe. FB reportedly missing since 24 Apr & search by #ICG and IN ships & aircraft was in progress," it had said. The South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) said the owner of the fishing boat, Joseph Franklin, had spoken to his wife over satellite phone Wednesday morning.
Based on the information provided by her, the Coast Guard carried out searches and managed to locate them. SAFF general secretary Fr Churchil said the cabin of their boat had gone off following an accident in the sea. One of the tiny boats attached to the fishing vessel was also damaged in the accident.
"Since the system of the boat was OK in its basement, they managed to sail back. But they could not communicate with anybody because their communication system was not functioning," he told PTI. Churchil said the satellite phone started working after five days after the accident and it helped Franklin contact his wife.
The incident came to light on April 24 after their friends in a companion boat found the parts of mangled remains of the fishing boat around 600 nautical miles (over 1,100 kms) off the Goa coast. The Coast Guard immediately rushed a ship from Mumbai on Saturday evening for carrying out rescue operations following a missing complaint received from fishermen organisations.
South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) said 11 fisherfolk from Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu had ventured into deep sea from Thengapattanam Fisheries Harbour, on April 9 in a mechanised boat. SAFF had said the fishermen were in touch with other fishermen till Friday noon.