The number of fishermen who went missing on sea after Thursday has gone up to three with one more person reported missing from Puthiyathura late on Friday.

According to reports reaching here, Antony, a native of Puthiyathura who had gone fishing on Wednesday night along with others from the Vizhinjam coast, had not yet reached home.

This was apart from the cases of Casper and Damien, who had gone missing from the group of 18 whose boats had capsized and were rescued by the Coast Guard and others on Thursday.

Jeron Pereira, the general secretary of the Swathantra Matsyathozhilali Centre here, told The Hindu that search operations were still on for the missing fishermen.

Unhappy

But the fishing community and the families of the missing persons were unhappy with the manner in which the official search was being carried out, he said, saying the operations on Friday had been reduced to more of a perfunctory exercise.

This, he said, had prompted other fishermen to form search groups of their own and to set out to sea on small boats in directions where the missing persons could have drifted.

They had already twice searched the spots where the boats capsized in the early hours of Thursday.

Meanwhile, one of the boats that had capsized, had washed ashore near Mariyanad on Friday.

Mr. Pereira said the strong winds in the last two nights had left a vast trail of damage apart from the persons missing.

Pushed to misery

The damage caused to two boats that went for fishing from Thazampally had alone pushed into misery and uncertainty nearly 130 families.

These boats had about 60 employees each and were bought on heavy interest loans.

The State government should initiate urgent steps to extend free ration and financial assistance to the families of the missing fishermen, those affected by the storm, and also by the sea erosion that had begun to lash the Thiruvananthapuram coast, he added.

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