Over two weeks after seven fishermen from Chennai went missing, the Tamil Nadu government has written to the Centre, seeking help to find them. The fishermen's boat capsized off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, after which they were not spotted.
In a letter to Union Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh on Friday, Tamil Nadu Minister for Fisheries D Jayakumar said that the seven fishermen ventured out to sea from the Chennai Fishing Harbour base in a country craft. They had left on June 5 and were expected to return to shores on June 13. â€śSince they have not returned even after 10 days after venture, the Department of Fisheries in coordination with the Indian Coast Guard (East) Region, conducted extensive search and rescue operation to trace the missing boat and fishermen.â€ť he wrote.
However, soon after the operation, the Chennai Coast Guard reported that the country craft was found capsized east of Ongole, off the coast of Andhra Pradesh. Unfortunately, no fisherman was found near the capsized boat.
â€śThe Department of Fisheries, Government of Tamil Nadu had written letters to the Commissioner of Fisheries, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Director of Fisheries, West Bengal, Odisha and Andaman Nicobar Islands for possible search and rescue through available means. Despite of all strenuous efforts taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu to rescue the missing fishermen, the whereabouts of them could not be traced so far. (sic)â€ť wrote the Minister.
He added, â€śWe presume that due to water current, colossal waves and weather condition they might have been drifted to South East Asian countries viz., Bangladesh, Burma Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.â€ť
Tamil Nadu has also written to the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the High Commission/Indian missions of the above mentioned countries to trace the fishermen, he announced.