Eleven fishermen from Thaengaaipattinam, who were rescued by the coast guard after disappearing on the high seas on April 28, returned home on Saturday afternoon.
As the escorted coast guard ship Mercedes boat with the 11 fishermen at the fishing port of Thaengaaipattinam, a group of people ventured into the sea with officials including Fisheries Inspector Sivakumar, his deputy Kani Selvan and Marine Police Inspector Arul Rose to receive them 4 nautical miles from the port.
The fishermen were greeted with emotion by their family members while Congressman Rajesh Kumar and Congress candidate for Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha by poll V. Vijay Vasanth congratulated them. After being taken to Vallavilai in a bus, the fishermen, along with their families and the villagers, attended a Thanksgiving Mass at St. Mary’s Church.
The 11 fishermen disappeared when another boat crashed into their mechanized boat 600 nautical miles off the coast of Goa on April 23. While the wheelhouse was thrown overboard, the fishermen were thrown into the sea. They managed to get back on the boat.
The crew of another mechanized boat Periyanayagi also from Vallavilai, saw the capsized wheelhouse of Mercedes and deduced that the boat had sunk after the accident and informed their families by satellite phone about it. After the district administration received the message from family members, the Center was alerted and launched a search operation.
Meanwhile, S. Joseph Franklin, owner of Mercedes, and who ran the boat contacted his family on the morning of April 28 by satellite phone to let them know they were all safe.
Upon information from the state government, the Mumbai Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) activated an international safety net to alert merchant vessels transiting near the reported position.
The alert sounded
Simultaneously, Samudra prahari from the Coast Guard was hijacked for research. MRCC (Mumbai) coordinated with the merchant vessel Maersk Horsburgh to join the search operation with the fishing boats operating in the area.
As the reported post was located in the search and rescue region of Pakistan, MRCC Karachi was approached for assistance in accordance with current International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards.
Having also received information on the location of the boat, the Coast Guard vessel Vikram located the boat on April 29, about 25 nautical miles from Suheli Par, Lakshadweep Islands.
He provided first aid to the crew of Mercedes and confirmed the safety of the entire crew. Vikram escorted the fishing boat to its base port at Thengapattanam fishing port.
“We thank the Union government for the swift action taken to locate the missing fishermen,” said Sunil Sabariar from Vallavilai.