The Kerala government today said intensified search and rescue operations are on to to trace 92 fishermen, still missing in high seas after cyclone Ockhi hit the state coast on November 29 and 30. ‘Operation Synergy,’ a joint rescue mission by Navy, Air force, Coast guards and state fisheries department had so far rescued 252 fishermen who were stranded in the seas in the aftermath of the cyclone. Besides this, several fishermen had reached ports and harbours in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Lakshdweep, the State Minister for Fisheries, overseeing the rescue operations, Mercykutty told PTI here. With this, more than 1,000 fishermen had reached shores safely, she said.
On the cyclone-related deaths, the Minister said of the 25 deaths reported so far, 21 were fishermen. A total of 292 fishermen had gone for fishing on November 29 from the Thiruvananthapuram coastal region and out of that 200 persons have already been rescued, she noted. “Officially 92 fishermen are still missing.. Rescue work is going with more intensity and by widening the area for search,” she said adding however, local people have put the number of missing persons as more than 100.
Mercykutty further said the state government has also decided to open Central Control Rooms in Kochi also along with the one functioning here to provide rescue mission-related information. According to Government Medical College sources here, as many as 41 fishermen, who were rescued, are now undergoing treatment there till this morning. Yesterday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited cyclone-hit areas here and assured the state all help. She had also asserted that rescue operations would continue till every missing fishermen was brought back safely.
Meanwhile, a defence spokesman said in Kochi that an Indian Coast Guard ship today located six boats with 72 crew, who were trapped in choppy waters following cyclone Ockhi, off Bitra island in Lakshadweep. He said Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Samrat’ located five boats with 58 crew from Tamil Nadu and one boat with 14 fishermen from Kerala. They were provided with food and other logistics assistance, he said, adding the boats are being vectored to safe shelter at Bitra island, the spokesman said.