MFA gives 3-days Deadline to Trace Missing Fishermen
Udupi: The Malpe Fishermen Association has given 3 days deadline to the state and union government to trace the missing fishing boat, Suvarna Tribhuja, with seven fishermen onboard, which had gone missing off the coast of Goa on December 15. If the government fails to trace the missing boat, the fishermen community will hold a massive protest stopping all fishing activities across the coastal district.
Speaking at a press meet held at the press club on December 31, Malpe Fishermen Association president Sathish Kundar said that the fishing boat had left for fishing from the Malpe Fishing Harbour on December 13. 7 fishermen including Boat owner Chandrasekhar (40) from Badanidiyur; Damodar (40) from Badanidiyur; Lakshman (45), Sathish ) (35), Harish (28), Ramesh (30) and Ravi (27) all from Hennavar were in the boat. They were said to be in touch with another boat which ventured with them till they reached Goa on December 15 at 1 am and later lost contact. The next day morning other boats started searching for ‘Suvarna Tribhuja’ but until today there have been no clues of the boat or the fishermen, he said.
This is the first time that a boat which had left Malpe port has gone missing. If the boat had sunk, there would have been stains of diesel in the water or debris of the boat floating around somewhere. But since there is no such development, we suspect that pirates may have hijacked the boat and are holding its crew hostage, he said.
The family members of fishermen are under fear after they have gone missing. Our association has informed the district commissioner as well as the SP of Udupi. SP Laxman Nimbargi has taken the issue seriously and has immediately contacted the Goa and Maharastra Police officials as well as the coastal security police to help in tracing the boat and the fishermen. He has also formed 5 teams and sent them to both the states to trace the fishermen.
Our association has also approached the State and Union government through the local MLA and former minister and appealed to trace the oat. Seventeen days have already passed without any positive developments.
If any farmer commits suicide, the state government runs to help the farmers family but it is unfortunate in Udupi district that after 7 fishermen have gone missing none of the peoples’ representatives have taken the issue seriously. The Fishermen community does not have any security for their lives in the sea. If such incidents occur the fishermen community will also be scared to go fishing. The government should provide security for the fishermen community. The chief minister of Karnataka should take the issue seriously and should contact the prime minister and the union defense minister and seek their support to trace the fishermen within 3 days, he demanded.
The Fishermen Association leaders Gopal K, Raviraj Suvarna, Gundu B Ameen, Nagaraj Suvarna, Ramachandra Kundar and others were present.
Meanwhile, Udupi Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis said that the fishermen have expressed suspicion that the boat might have been abducted by pirates.
As many as six deep sea fishing boats had ventured into the sea for fishing from Malpe on December 13. However, one of them lost contact on the night of December 15. The other fishermen had searched for the missing boat for several days and finally complained on December 22.