Tamil Nadu

Rescue fishermen stranded in Iran, kin urge Collectors

Amid the COVID-19 scare, the fisherfolk have been told to remain in the harbour

The families of 57 fishermen from the district who have been stranded in Iran in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak have petitioned Tirunelveli Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish, seeking her intervention to rescue them at the earliest.

The fishermen had neither been allowed to venture into the sea for fishing nor leave the harbour to get food, medicine, drinking water and other essentials, they said. The petitioners said the 57 fishermen hailing from 10 coastal villages in the district, who were hired by Iranian nationals to work on their mechanised fishing boats, had been asked to remain inside their boat.

The Union government, which operated special flights to China to bring back Indians stranded in the neighbouring country, should similarly send a special aircraft to rescue the fishermen stranded in Iran, the petitioners said.

A similar appeal was made to Kanniyakumari Collector Prashant M. Wadnere by the families of fishermen from the district who have been stranded in Iran.

Led by Rev. Fr. Churchill, general secretary of the South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF), the kin of the fishermen submitted a petition to the Collector. They said the breadwinners of their families, who were employed in eight places across Iran, had been told to remain inside the harbours, which had been closed for fishing activities due to the COVID-19 scare.

‘Scary conditions’

“The fishermen are unable to come out of the harbour or venture into the sea. Their Iranian sponsors are not ready to provide them with food. The fishermen are staying in their boats, berthed at the harbour. Since they are living in unhealthy and scary conditions even as the virus threat looms large, they should be evacuated from these places and brought back to India through special aeroplanes,” Rev. Fr. Churchill said.

The SAFF has also sent appeals to the External Affairs Minister and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 3:24:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rescue-fishermen-stranded-in-iran-kin-urge-collectors/article30966835.ece

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