One third of the fishermen selected for the Sea Rescue Squad, a team comprising of local fishermen for rescue operations in the sea during cyclones or any deadly storms, have completed their training and are equipped for any such operations.
A total of 280 fishermen of the 900 fishfolk selected as part of the first phase of the project were given 15 days of training at the National Institute of Water Sports in Goa. Another batch of 40 persons left for the Goa the other day, sources said. As of now, seven batches of 40 persons each have completed the training in Goa, they said.
The sources said that the crew members in the squad are given training on life saving, sea rescue operations, power boat handling, sea safety equipment operation and other disaster management techniques.
In the first phase, the government is for setting up 60 units of Sea Rescue Squad units in 222 fishing of nine coastal districts. Ten units will be deployed in Thiruvananthapuram, seven each in Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kozhiokode, four units in Thrissur and Malappuram, six in Kannur and eight units in Kasargode district. The government had already sanctioned Rs 7.15 crore from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief fund for providing training, awareness and communication devices.
Each sea rescue unit will have five vessels with three crew members each. As such there will be 15 fishermen in every sea rescue squad. The applications for crew members were called through local fishery stations and Matsyabhavans. The fishermen having good fishing vessels and young fishermen of good physical and mental health to undertake rescue operations at sea have been selected for the squad. Once they are selected, an agreement will be executed with the vessel owners and the crew members on condition that their service will be utilised at any time of urgency. The government had also decided to give priority to the vessels that took part in the rescue operations during Cyclone Ockhi and recent flood.
The vessels selected will be provided with communication equipment, distress alert transmitter, life jackets, life buoys and other essential equipment. The government will also be providing compensation to the vessels that are called for any rescue operations.