Indian Navy officials hold coastal security awareness campaign meeting

The Indian Navy officials at a meeting here on Tuesday sought the cooperation of fishermen to prevent the State coast from becoming vulnerable to terrorism activities.

Addressing fishermen at the coastal security awareness campaign meeting Commander Tushar Sockey, Staff Officer (coastal security) to the Naval Officer In-Charge, Karnataka, Karwar, said that fishermen were the eyes and ears of coastal security.

He asked fishermen to keep a vigil on unknown persons who came asking for boats for rent for picnic and pleasure purposes.

Commander Sockey asked fishermen to reveal their identity whenever the Navy, Coast Guard or Costal Security Police wanted it in sea.

He asked them to inform security agencies about the suspicious sailing of boats or vessels near the coast and boats which fish in non-fishing zones.

Missing fishermen

Three fishermen from Bengre who went for fishing from the old port on Saturday evening are missing even as Indian Coast Guard personnel faced charges of delay in launching an operation to rescue them.

The incident and the delay in rescue operation were highlighted at the meeting.

Yatish Baikampady, president, Mogaveera Vyavasthapaka Mandali of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, who raised the issue, accused the Indian Coast Guard personnel here of not being quick in launching rescue operations.

Mr. Baikampady said that Francis, Manohar, and Wincy who left by their boat should have returned on Sunday morning. They had taken only limited food and some water with them for overnight fishing, he said. He said that after he came to know about them going missing at about 7 p.m. on Monday, he called up the Coast Guard office here. But there was nobody to attend the call.

Later, Mr. Baikampady said, he had sent details about the boat through short message service (SMS) on the cellphone of an official.

When he sought to know about the action taken on his arrival at Tuesday's meeting, the Coast Guard official told him that his office should have been sent a fax message with details of the boat missing to enable them to launch rescue operation.

Mr. Baikampady questioned the Navy and Coast Guard officials how fishermen could send fax message in such circumstances.

Sridhar Upadhya, Uttam Adhikari, Coast Guard, Mangalore, said that the Coast Guard could not sail out its vessel without the orders from higher officials. Hence it had taken some time..

Mr. Upadhya said that a Coast Guard vessel had left Tuesday forenoon in search of the fishermen.

A Coast Guard official said the missing fishermen had not been traced till Tuesday evening and the search operation was under way.

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