10 fishermen were in the vessel "Vijouin" which started from Kanyakumari and were struggling to keep the boat afloat.
In a joint mission, Mangalore-based officers attached to the Indian Coast Guard Headquarters No. 3 and the Coastal Security Police rescued a boat that developed a crack in the high seas about 30 km off Surathkal coast on Wednesday afternoon.
K.L. Arunkumar, captain of the vessel, said 10 fishermen were in the vessel “Vijouin”, which started from Kanyakumari, and were struggling to keep the boat afloat when the Coast Guard’s ship Kasturba Gandhi approached it. He told The Hindu that the information reached the Coast Guard around 11 a.m. and the Kasturba Gandhi set sail along with a coastal police boat around 12.15 p.m.
Though he had been asking them to remain calm over wireless equipment, the fishermen had panicked as they were trying hard to plug the crack and ensure that the fishing vessel remained afloat. The boat, owned by Anthony Joseph who was in Ernakulam, had first gone through a similar situation near Mumbai on December 15 where it had been rescued by the Mumbai Coast Guard; they had ensured that the vessel reached Karwar. After some repair work, it was decided to take her to Kanyakumari. The fishermen had been asked to sail close to the coast, said Mr. Arunkumar.
He said the vessel had been reported safe by Honnavar coastal police last night but had suffered a crack in the morning; the fishermen could not contact the local Coastal Security Police immediately as they were far from the coast. However, they were able contact the police after a while.
“They did not have food and water. As we approached them, we gave them water and they calmed down,” said Mr. Arunkumar.
Mr. Joseph, the owner, who sought the help of Secretary of the Karnataka Purse Seine Meenugarara Sangha, Mohan Bengre, had requested the Coast Guard to bring the boat to the coast so that he could tow it away.