Nation Current Affairs 05 Dec 2017 Cyclone Ockhi: No GP ...

Cyclone Ockhi: No GPS beacon to help fishermen

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RAKESH NAIR
Published Dec 5, 2017, 7:02 am IST
Updated Dec 5, 2017, 7:02 am IST
Most devices turned faulty in no time.
Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a gathering of fishermen at Vizhinjam on Monday. (Photo: Peethambaran Payyeri)
 Union defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a gathering of fishermen at Vizhinjam on Monday. (Photo: Peethambaran Payyeri)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The failure to sustain the free distribution of GPS-enabled automatic distress radio beacon to fishermen has led to the rising toll  in the cyclone in the state. The kits help the crew of capsized boats by sending alerts to the Coast Guard. It relays the location through GPS once it comes into contact with saline water. However, most of the devices supplied by Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation Ltd in the past years had turned faulty a few months after installation. Several hundred licensed boat owners were distributed free kits that cost around Rs 20,000.

 The devices had poor battery backup and remain switched off as fishermen venture several nautical miles into the sea. Sometimes, the beacons get triggered accidentally by fishermen who were not properly trained. So, eventually, the kits became show pieces in many boats. "The GPS kits were faulty or of no use. The good ones in the market cost as high as Rs 50,000. So their installation has been overlooked by boat owners also," said John Peter, a veteran boatman from Pulluvila.

 

Experts say that with catamarans being replaced by fibre and medium-sized boats, the distance range that fishermen travel for catches has  increased. This makes them more vulnerable. "If a catamaran turns turtle multiple times, it could be set right again and again. The capsized boats cannot be relaunched," fishermen said.

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Location: India, Kerala




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