Agreement on number of missing fishermen

‘Declare missing fishermen dead if they don’t return by Dec. 31’

Published - December 27, 2017 09:45 pm IST


Officials and fishermen’s representatives, who were hitherto presenting contrasting figures on the number of fishermen missing or feared dead after Cyclone Ockhi, have almost come to an agreement.

While the district administration puts the figure at 237, fishermen’s representatives say that 238 are feared dead as there is no information about them ever since Ockhi devastated Kanniyakumari district on November 30 and December 1.

In other words, the total number of fishermen feared dead is 245, as eight have already been declared dead.

Of the 237 fishermen feared dead, 170 are from various hamlets of Kanniyakumari while 67 are from other districts and States – 19 from Cuddalore, 17 from Nagapattinam, four from Thoothukudi, one from Rameshwaram and 26 from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.

After eight fishermen were declared dead based on the identification of bodies that were washed ashore, six more were identified by conducting DNA test. Since 31 more yet-to-be identified bodies are lying in various hospitals of Kerala, kin of 125 missing fishermen have given their blood samples for DNA analysis.

Meanwhile, families of missing fishermen want the government to declare their breadwinners ‘dead’ if they fail to return by December 31. After the last hope of seeing their breadwinners at least during Christmas was dashed as they did not return, the families have started conducting Holy Mass in memory of the missing fishermen.

“Extensive searches to locate the missing fishermen have been conducted in places our fishermen usually go for fishing, but in vain. Chances of survival are very remote and hence they should be declared dead on December 31 as it will enable the families to get the compensation of ₹20 lakh and a government job. Otherwise, it will trigger strong protests,” says Rev. Fr. Churchill, general secretary, South Asian Fishermen Fraternity.

Even as the district administration is getting ready to receive the Central team visiting the district for two days from Thursday to assess the damage caused by the cyclone and consequent downpour, work on meeting the fishermen’s demand of declaring the missing fishermen as ‘dead’ has started, it is reliably learnt.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.