In a goodwill gesture, the Sri Lankan Navy has rescued four Rameswaram fishermen who were found stranded on the high seas on Thursday evening after their trawler developed a snag.

The Mandapam station of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) received a message from the office of the Indian High commission in Colombo that the Lankan Navy has rescued the four fishermen from 10 nautical miles north of Thalaimannar. The fishermen had set out for fishing from Rameswaram fishing jetty on Wednesday and had failed to return after the engine developed snag. The Lankan navy spotted them on Thursday evening near Thalaimannar and took them into safe custody, sources in ICG said. As their faulty trawler was not sea worthy, a salvage team from Rameswaram would be allowed to bring back the fishermen on Saturday and tow the boat, the sources said. It was not clear whether the fishermen were kept in Thalaimannar of Kayts.

The ICG would escort the salvage team up to the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) and then hand the team over to the Lankan Navy. On the return, the Lankan Navy would bring them up to the IMBL and hand them over to the ICG, the sources added.

The fishermen – Paralogaraj, Wilson, Paralogarajan and Jackson all from Mandapam - are safe and likely to be sent back on Saturday, U.Arulanandham, President of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF) said quoting Indian High Commission officials in Colombo. He said ten fishermen who set out in two country boats on Friday morning, looking for the stranded fishermen, returned to the shore. They were later told that the fishermen have been rescued.

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