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Updated: September 16, 2011 12:37 IST

Six fishermen go missing

Staff Correspondent
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Vincent, who was rescued after his boat got damaged in the sea off the Ullal Coast, being taken to hospital in Mangalore on Thursday.
The Hindu
Vincent, who was rescued after his boat got damaged in the sea off the Ullal Coast, being taken to hospital in Mangalore on Thursday.

Seven were there when the boat got damaged; one has been rescued

Six fishermen have gone missing after their fishing boat got damaged in the sea off the Ullal coast in the early hours of Thursday. One of them has been rescued and he is recovering in Wenlock Hospital here.

These fishermen ventured into the sea in their “Ocean fisheries 2” boat nine days ago.

“Except Vincent (55), who is in Wenlock Hospital, the identity of the rest was not known till Thursday evening. The owner of the boat has no list of fishermen on board,” Deputy Director of Fisheries Suresh Kumar Ullal has said.

According to Nasir, owner of “Ocean Fisheries 2”, a crew member called him around 2 a.m. and informed that water was seeping into the boat after it was hit by an object. This was when the boat was returning to the harbour.

Mr. Nasir said the crew members called for help. “I contacted several fishermen, but none were ready to venture into the sea at night as it was rough,” he added.

Mr. Nasir said that he was in constant touch with the crew members till 5 a.m. when the connection snapped. Abdul Rehman, vice-president of the Trawl Boat Operators' Association, said the boat was damaged near the estuary where silt had accumulated. However, Mr. Suresh Kumar said the wooden boat might have been damaged after hitting “MV Asian Forest” that sank in the sea off the Ullal coast in July 2009. Search operation gained momentum around 8 a.m. after fishermen reported the incident to the police and the Fisheries Department. Mr. Nasir said that the crew members of his two other boats were searching for “Ocean Fisheries 2”.

A team of personnel from fisheries, Coast Guards and Customs has launched a search operation in a small patrol boat. Police and Central Industrial Security Force personnel are patrolling Panambur and Thannirbhavi beaches. As the search was on, there was news about Mr. Vincent being rescued.

“He was found floating on a piece of the boat,” Mr. Nasir said. The wooden piece is believed be part of the fish-hold of the boat. Mr. Vincent of Thiruvananthapuram was found by the crew of a fishing boat that was returning to the fishing harbour. An exhausted Mr. Vincent was admitted to the Wenlock Hospital immediately, Mr. Nasir said.

Assistant Director of Fisheries Benedict Vijaya, who met Mr. Vincent in the hospital, said that he told him that he was brought to the shore by the waves. He did not know what had happened to the rest of the crew members. Mr. Vincent did not know much about his crew members except that they were speaking Kannada.

“We hope to get more information on Friday when he recovers from the shock,” Mr. Vijaya said. The search operation came to a halt around 2 p.m. because of low visibility and low tide. The operation would be resumed on Friday, Mr. Suresh Kumar said.


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