In a bid to ensure safety to fishermen and providing them all assistance during times of disasters, Kerala has embarked on an ambitious project of providing sea safety equipment to traditional fishermen in the state.
As part of the drive, the traditional fishermen would be provided with Global Positioning System (GPS), Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT) and VHF Radio. Highly placed sources said that the government has earmarked an amount of Rs 900 crore for implementing the programme.
The government has come up with such a programme as the traditional fishermen are always vulnerable to the dangers in sea. The government will be providing GPS, DAT and VHF radio by charging a small amount from the fishermen. This is being done so that the fishermen also become responsible, they added.
The sources said that the sea safety equipment would help in providing immediate help to the fishermen when they are in any danger at any time. Moreover, these communication systems would also help in monitoring fishing vessels and to avoid casualties.
It has been found that most of the accidents happen only because the fishermen are not accessible to sophisticated communication devises. Despite several calls that all the fishing vessels should have minimum safety equipment, a large number of traditional fishing boats do not have these facilities.
Noting that about 200 lives of fishermen had been lost in the sea, the sources said that the deaths had mainly occurred because of the delay in rescue operations. Once the fishing vessels are equipped with these communication systems, there would be less loss of lives, they said.
The government envisages making effective the communication among boats, communication between boats and ships, communication between the boats and the land. Once the communication system is in place, the sources said that all the fishing vessels could be traced that would help in speedy rescue operations and also avoid mid sea collisions.The fishermen can use the Distress Alert System to alert the officials in case of any emergency, be it medical aid or any collision or need for rescue. Through the VHF Radio, the fishermen can communicate with other fishing vessels, ships, harbours and also officials. The GPS, which has now become part of marine life, will help any person to track the fishing vessels at any part of the ocean.