Three of the seven fishermen, who had ventured into the rough sea, are yet to reach home safe. This is not the first time that such instances of missing fishermen in rough weather have been reported.
Though risky to fish in rough sea, some of the fishermen said that they were going out only because of feeding their family and had no other option. Meanwhile, some others said that there were several options available rather than risking one’s life.
Kerala Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma had alleged that the boat owners often compelled fishermen to venture into sea. She also said that fishermen should desist from going out to sea when alerts are given.
The fishermen also agree that only a few dare to take out their boats in rough waters. However, they denied that it was because of any compulsion from the boat owners that that they go fishing in rough sea. “The fishermen are never compelled by the boat owners. They take the fishing boats at their own risk only. If a boat owner compels a fisherman to go to sea in rough weather and in case something happens, the fisherman’s family would not spare the boat owner. As such no boat owner is going to take such a risk,” said Martin of Valiyathura.
Noting that the real reason for some of the fishermen taking risk is to feed his family, he said that many of the fishermen had a large family to feed. “If a fisherman does not go to sea, how is that he can live. Most of the fishermen go to sea in rough weather taking risk only because of poverty,” he said.
Martin also alleged that the government had not even provided free ration and also the financial assistance that was promised.
Robin from Adimalathura said that they take the risk only because they have no other option. “We never want to go to sea during this time. But there is no other option. How can we feed our children and family if we do not go for fishing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Matsya Thozhilali Union (CITU) Thiruvananthapuram general secretary Kennedy opined that the fishermen should have to adhere to the warning and never go out in rough sea. “Only a few fishermen are seen to be going out in rough weather. The government has been providing assistance to them at times of such weather conditions. Why is that they are defying the alerts and risking their life.”
He also said that the fishermen, if any, venture into rough sea should have to use safety gears, which many of the time are never used by them.
MISSING FISHERMEN YET TO BE TRACED
The three fishermen who are still missing belong to a group of five fishermen who had gone from Neendakara. On Friday morning, their boat capsized and two of the fishermen swam to the shore. The search for the missing was on, officials said.
Meanwhile, the four fishermen from Vizhinjam who went missing on Friday were brought back to the shore on Saturday. The four were stranded in mid sea after technical snag in the engine. Soon after the fishermen went missing, Vizhinjam witnessed a large protest and the government was blamed for not taking any immediate action for rescuing these men. It was the fishermen of Vizhinjam who took the risk of going to the sea and brining these fishermen back to the shore. Two of them have been admitted in the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College.
The met department has warned of heavy rains in Kerala till July 23. They have also warned of strong winds with speed reaching 40-50 kilometre per hour off and along Kerala Coast. The Weather people have also warned the fishermen against going to sea. They have said that the sea would be rough and also warned of high waves.