Families wait for return of missing fishermen

Families wait for return of missing fishermen

The missing boat 'Suvarna Thribhuja'.

A teary-eyed Ramani, sister of missing fisherman Damodar Salian, has said, “I do not know if my brother has had food. We want no boat, just him to return alive.”

The fishing boat Suvarna Tribhuja had left Malpe on December 13 and has been incommunicado since December 15 midnight.

There is silence in Salian’s house at Pavanjegudde in Badanidiyooru near Malpe. Without any news of the whereabouts of the breadwinner of the household, the family is in distress and the members are eagerly waiting for his return.

Salian’s brother Gangadhar said, “Even after search operations by the Coast Guard and the Indian Navy, the boat has not been traced. We suspect the handiwork of sea pirates in the sudden disappearance of the boat. The service of the military should be used for a closer search. The Centre and the state governments should consider the issue seriously.”

Gangadhar warned that the fishermen would teach the elected representatives a lesson in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

“A team of fishermen from Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts as well as two officials have carried out search operations for a week in the Malvan area of Maharashtra. Search operations were also carried out in Mumbai. The police and fishermen in Mumbai, however, have not been cooperative. The police have concluded their investigation by interrogating a few fishermen instead of going in-depth,” said a fisherman.

“The teams have carried out search operations in Kirampani, Redi, Vengurla and Nivati in Sindhudurg, and the Malvan, Devagada and Vijayadurga areas in Maharashtra as well as Panaji in Goa. The officials have concluded that the boat has not been hijacked. Then, did the boat disappear?” the fisherman criticised.

Speaking to DH, Sathish Kunder, Malpe Fishermen’s Association president, said that about 70% of the boats at Malpe have left for deep sea fishing after carrying out search operation for the missing boat. Two ships using sonar technology are carrying out operations to check if the boat has sunk, he explained.

“We are also worried over conditions back in the houses of seven missing fishermen,” said Kunder.