Fishermen launch last-ditch search for missing brethren

Deep sea fishing boats remain anchored at Malpe harbour

As a last-ditch attempt, 1,100 deep sea fishing boats has launch a combined search for the fishing boat Suvarna Tribhuja and its crew of seven fishermen on Monday night.

Malpe Fishermen’s Association president Sathish Kunder told DH that fishermen were apprehensive about venturing into the deep sea fishing after the boat and its crew went missing. About 1,100 deep sea fishing boats had remained anchored at Malpe harbour since a fortnight incurring a huge loss to the fishermen community. With the fishermen nervous of going out for deep sea fishing, the livelihood of many along Malpe coast had been hit. 

“We have decided to launch a combined search operation from Malpe. Besides Coast Guard and Navy personnel are also engaged in a search operation in Lakshadweep, Goa, Maharashtra apart from Karnataka. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Home Minister M B Patil too had promised to take up search operations using the latest technology including satellite images. We are hopeful of tracing the missing fishermen,” he said.

Heavy losses

According to fishermen’s association, on an average, the daily business from deep sea fishing in Malpe harbour is Rs 5 crore to Rs 6 crore. There are other expenses related to diesel and payment of commission for the fishermen who go for deep sea fishing and others. “After the deep sea fishing was paralysed, small crafts had been engaged in the day-to-day fishing. Each boat fetches a business of Rs 30,000 to 40,000 from the catch. However, they have expenses of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per day in the form of payment of wages for the fishermen, diesel charges and so on,” he said.

The fishing activities were suspended on Sunday as a part of the protest in Mangaluru harbour. The loss is estimated at around Rs 5 crore. The rumours that the fishing boat was hijacked by pirates or terrorists or by Goa and Maharashtra fishermen have only added to the prevailing apprehensions. “If the boat had submerged, the splinters would have been floating and the oil spillage would have been noticed by the fishing boats or merchant vessels in the deep sea. Each deep sea fishing boat carries 5,000 and 8,000 litres of diesel,” Kunder informed.

Coast Guard continues ops

Meanwhile, Coast Guard Commander S S Dasila said the search operations had not been abandoned. Advisories were also issued to merchant vessels and fishing boats operating in the mid sea to report any signs about the missing boat. Coast Guard Dornier, interceptor boat, fast patrol vessels had been pressed to service to carry out a search operation.

According to Udupi SP Laxman Nimbargi, four teams had been constituted to trace the missing fishermen.

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Fishermen launch last-ditch search for missing brethren

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