Eleven fishermen from Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district have gone missing after their fishing boat is suspected to have capsized about 60 nautical miles away off Goa’s coast. The incident came to light after fishermen in another fishing boat saw parts of the boat in the sea on Saturday. Various fishers associations have written to the Indian Coast Guard seeking help to find the fishers.
It was on April 9 that the mechanised fishing boat, named ‘Mercedes’, owned by Kanyakumari native Joseph Franklin, set out to sea from Thengapattanam harbour, along with two fishing canoes. Though the remnants of one of the canoes which were with the fishing boat were found, there were no traces of the fishermen, said South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) in a statement.
“We fear that some accident might have taken place in the deep sea to the fishing boat ‘Mercedes’ and eleven fishermen who were onboard in that boat are missing. Hence, we kindly request you to take necessary action to search and rescue the missing eleven fishermen,” SAFF said in a letter to the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre of the Indian Coast Guard in Mumbai. SAFF said the fishermen were in touch with other fishermen till Friday noon.
Meanwhile, fishermen associations in Kerala have also sought help from the Coast Guard. Charles George, President of the Matsya Thozhilali Aikyavedi, a fishermen’s forum in Kerala, said that the spot where the suspected capsize has occurred is closer to the Iran Coast.
“We have sent 10 boats from Kerala to the spot. There should be a unified effort at the international level to help the fishermen,” said Charles George, adding his suspicion about a ship collision.
Defence sources said that the Coast Guard has sent a ship from Mumbai on Saturday evening for carrying out rescue operations following the missing complaint received from the fishermen organisations.
The Coast Guard vessel is expected to reach the spot on Monday, the sources said in Kochi.
However, there is no official information from the government on the nature of the reported accident.
(With PTI inputs)