Bengaluru: Eight fishermen from Malpe, who had gone for deep sea fishing on December 13 from the Malpe fishing harbour remain untraced despite best efforts by the State government, neighbouring coastal states of Maharashtra and Goa, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The last contact that the boat owner Chandrashekhar had made with his brother Nithyananda was on December 16. Thereafter there was no contact.
The fishermen in the three coastal districts of Karnataka have threatened to go on strike on January 6 and block NH 66 if the fishermen were not traced by then. They fear that the missing boat may have been hijacked by some local pirates.
“There are no international maritime borders in the vicinity of the Karnataka coastline. It is difficult to say what may have happened to the fishermen,” said an official source. Deep sea is beyond 12 nautical miles. The fishermen are known to go beyond 15 to 18 nautical miles for fishing.
Home Minister M.B. Patil will be visiting Udupi on January 5 to personally review the situation and to speak to the families of missing fishermen. Fisheries Minister Venkatarao Nadagouda will also be going to Udupi in this connection on January 8.
According to official sources boat owner Chandrashekhar from Badanidiyoor set out on December 13 for deep sea fishing with fishermen Damodara, also from Badanidiyoor, Lakshman, Sathish, Harish, Ramesh, and Jogaiah from Kumta and Ravi from Honnavar in ‘Suvarna Thribhuja’ (IND KA 02 MM4632) – a red colour steel boat with white top and blue base cabin.
Chandrashekhar last contacted his brother Nithyananda on December 16 at around 1 am informing him that they were fishing near Goa and were unable to contact with the fishermen on the other boats from Malpe. They were scheduled to return after 10 days. On December 22, Nithyananda contacted the Coastal Security Police (CSP) Station, Malpe and lodged a missing complaint (No.154/18) at Malpe Police Station. The Coastal Security Police (CSP) at Udupi was immediately alerted.
State police chief Neelamani N. Raju has spoken to Joint Director (Internal Security) MHA requesting him to take up the matter with the MoD to direct the Navy to intensify their search operations.
The MHA has taken up the matter with the MOD. Coastal Security Police officers from Karnataka have visited Goa and Maharashtra, based on the last known contact of the boat on December 16.
The Coast Guard has pressed into service their ships, hovercrafts, Dornier aircraft and helicopters and carried out sea-air search in coordination with commercial ships and marine police boats for the missing fishing boat/fishermen....