Four Rameswaram fishermen, who got stranded on the high seas after their trawler developed a snag on June 26 and rescued by the Sri Lankan Navy the same day, returned home on Monday after three days of stay in Thalaimanner.

A salvage boat with five fishermen on board from Rameswaram towed the faulty boat with four fishermen from Thalaimannar and arrived at Rameswaram fishing jetty late in the evening.

The salvage boat was escorted by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) vessel Rajkamal up to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). From there, it was escorted by the Lankan Navy to Thalaimannar, sources in Mandapam ICG station said. It towed back the faulty boat with four fishermen, escorted by the Lankan Navy up to the IMBL.

After receiving them, the ICG escorted them and handed them over to the Fisheries Department officials off Rameswaram fishing jetty, the sources said.

The Lankan Navy initially offered to tow the faulty boat with fishermen and hand them over to the ICG for repatriation at the IMBL, but the fishermen objected, saying it would not be safe for the faulty boat. As they insisted on a salvage boat from Rameswaram, the ICG escorted it and facilitated the repatriation, the sources said.

The repatriation of the four fishermen was to take place on Sunday, but the Lankan Navy could not bring the fishermen in the absence of a vessel. The fishermen — Paralogaraj, Wilson, Paralogarajan and Jackson — had set out for fishing on June 26 and were found stranded in the Sri Lankan waters, the next day evening.

The fishermen were well taken care of by the Lankan Navy during their stay in Thalaimannar, according to U.Arulanandham, president of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen.

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