Fishers doubtful over efficacy of Karunya marine ambulance

The marine ambulance which was brought to the Beypore harbour six months ago for rescue operations.   | Photo Credit: K. RAGESH

Fishermen and boat owners at the Beypore harbour have expressed strong concern over the efficacy of the newly launched Karunya marine ambulance for sea rescue operations.

Those who recently took up the matter with the district administration and the Fisheries Department alleged that the multi-crore customised boat was of no use during rough weather, and that it could hardly withstand the strong rolling motions in the sea.

Highlighting the limitations of sea ambulance in rescue operations, All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners and Operators Association called for the hiring of a well-equipped larger fishing boat for the purpose. According to them, the small marine ambulance with all its limitations and small size will never be a wise choice to depend on during crisis situations.

Association leaders said bigger boats alone could effectively withstand rough waves and the rolling motion during unfair weather. A small boat like Karunya with a length of just 22.5 metres can never be used for rescue operations in the rough seas, which will even endanger the life of rescue operators, they argued.

“During the trawling ban, the Fisheries Department and the district administration were reluctant to hire fishing boats for rescue operations citing availability of the ambulance. In effect, dependence on an ineffective rescue boat cripples rescue services,” said association vice president Karichal Preman. He added that those who were associated with rescue operations had encountered problems while using the boat.

It was nearly six months ago that the ₹6-crore customised boat was brought from Kochi to Beypore. It was also claimed that the boat was designed to cover the entire Malabar coast. In addition, nursing staff were deployed on the boat on contract, besides equipping it with rescue accessories to attend to 10 persons at a time.

Some fishermen from Beypore said the customised boat was used for coastal patrol recently and stressed the need to use it for productive purposes. According to them, two boats launched to cover the southern coast had a similar fate.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 7:51:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/fishers-doubtful-over-efficacy-of-karunya-marine-ambulance/article35729816.ece

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