Thursday, December 29, 2011

CHENNAI: SOS to rescue 700 stranded fishermen

By G Saravanan
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on Dec 29, 2011:
CHENNAI: Owners of more than 100 mechanised fishing trawlers that sailed from the Kasimedu Fishing Harbour five days ago  and now stranded near the Nizampatnam Bay in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, have appealed to the State government and the Indian Coast Guard (Eastern Region) to rescue their boats and 700-odd men onboard, before the arrival of Cyclone Thane.
Speaking to Express, S Venugopal, president of Tamil Nadu Coastal Mechanised Boat Fishermen Welfare Association, said, “We have received reports that about 100 mechanised boats from Kasimedu are now stranded near Nizampatnam Bay area due to rough sea conditions and we appeal to the Coast Guard to act swiftly to move them to a safer locations before cyclonic storm Thane reaches the area.”
When the meteorological department alerted fishermen about the storm a few days ago, various boat owner associations radioed the weather warning message to all trawlers that left for fishing about five days ago.
Though half of the trawlers moved towards safer areas near Krishnapatnam Port and nearby areas, we did not receive any communication from about 100 boats and we suspect that they might be stranded near Nizampatnam Bay due to the prevailing rough sea conditions,” M E Raghupathy, president of Chennai-Tiruvallur-Kanchipuram District Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association told Express.
According to boat owners, about 700 fishermen are stranded in these 100-odd mechanised trawlers.
Meanwhile, fishing activities from Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram have come to a standstill after weathermen cautioned fishermen from venturing into sea.
K Bharathi, president of the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association (SIFWA), told Express that about 10,000 fibre boats from these three districts were moved to safer locations in all fishing hamlets.
“Fishermen even in catamarans did not venture into sea for the last two days due to rough sea conditions,” Bharathi added.

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