Young lad bids goodbye to fishing, joins coast guard

Young lad bids goodbye to fishing, joins coast guard

A Diyotes (right) became the first from the fishermen community in Thangachimadam to join the ICG as a sailor.

A Diyotes, 18, son of a fisherman in the Rameswaram island, would look with awe at the sailors of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) donning the white uniform as they embark on a hovercraft from the Mandapam station.

Diyotes would not have imagined that one day he himself would don the uniform and join the ICG.

And Thursday was the magical day when the unimaginable happened — Diyotes, who completed his class XII in 2017 — graduated from the ICG station in Chilka in Odisha, becoming the first from the fishermen community in Thangachimadam in the island to join the ICG as a sailor.

Hailing from a poor fisherman family, Diyotes was into fishing along with his father, who lost his fishing boat following its confiscation by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly trespassing into the country’s water in 2015. Fishermen from Rameswaram are picked up frequently by Sri Lankan Navy for crossing the International Maritime Border and a majority of the population in the island eke out their living through fishing.

“I am speechless. I am an ordinary youth who was forced to go into the sea due to the financial condition of my family. But today, I am a proud sailor of the ICG, and I still can’t believe this has happened,” Diyotes told DH as he was waiting at the Chennai Egmore railway station to board a train to his native.

Diyotes would spend a month with his family and would join Shaurya, an advanced offshore patrol vessel for one-month ship training. The youth could achieve this feat due to training offered by the state government to help youth in joining Indian Navy and ICG and guidance from IAS officer G S Sameeran, who was posted as Additional Director of fisheries in Rameswaram in 2017.

“It was during a training programme that I met Sameeran sir who gave his mobile number and asked me to get in touch with him in case I need any help regarding my education. I sent a request to him on WhatsApp seeking help to join ICG and that message changed my life,” Diyotes said.

The sailors in white uniform inside the hovercrafts off Rameswaram is a sight to watch and not just Diyotes but everyone in his age group would dream of occupying the vessel one day. “It was always my dream and never thought my dream would turn into reality so soon. I am 18 and have a long way to go in life,” he said.

Sameeran, who is now the Director of Fisheries, helped Diyotes to get enrolled in the three-month training programme following which he got the call letter to join the training at ICGS Chilka. “Without Sameeran sir, this would not have been possible,” he said.