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600 fishermen from Goa, Guj stranded in Arabian Sea

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 11, 2009 19:29 IST
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Around 600 fishermen from Gujarat and Goa were on Wednesday missing or stranded off the Western Coast after the sea became rough in the cyclonic storm, as Coast guard and Navy deployed ships and aircraft for search and rescue missions.

At least 35 trawlers carrying about 200 crewmembers from Goa were missing after gusty winds lashed the western coast since the last two days, while around 400 fishermen from

Gujarat who had ventured into the sea in about 60 boats were stranded.

Fishermen at Malim jetty, located across Mandovi river near Panaji said more than 28 trawlers have not returned and lost contact with the base for last two days.

"There can be more than 28 trawlers. What I am telling you is the figure available at this time," said Menino Afonso, chairman, Mandovi Fisheries Co-operative Society.

Each trawler carries an average six crewmembers, he said, adding that the attempt to contact these trawlers have turned futile.

"There is a possibility they must have been dragged away from Goa state waters and ventured in Malwan (Maharashtra)," Afonso said.

The Indian Coast Guard, which has initiated search and rescue operations, said they were flooded with the missing complaints since Tuesday.

"An aircraft has been commissioned in search and rescue operation," said Commandant A K Saxena, Indian Coast Guard, Panaji.

Two trawlers from Cutbona jetty in south Goa and four from Betul jetty are also reported missing.

Union Territory Daman and Diu Fisheries department official Abhilasha Agarwal said the fishermen in Gujarat were stuck 40 nautical miles off the Daman coast. The fishermen had left the coast two days ago before the cyclone warning was issued.

"We sent a message to the fishermen with the help of Indian Coast Guard. They will be trying to reach them using the helicopters," Agarwal said.

In Bhavnagar, a level three warning was issued by the district administration asking the fishermen to stay away from the sea for the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, 24 persons including eight fishermen were rescued by the navy and coast guard from the choppy waters in the Arabian Sea in Maharashtra.

Eight fishermen, including a minor, who ventured into the rough sea ignoring the warnings of a cyclonic, were rescued off the Ratnagiri coast in Konkan region with the help of Navy's Chetak helicopter, Captain M Nambiar, ministry of defence spokesman, said.

Sixteen crewmembers of two vessels were rescued by the coast guard from Bombay High, an off-shore oilfield 160 km off the coast of Mumbai, he said.

The Navy has deployed its personnel equipped with boats and lifeguards in Mankhurd, Malad, Worli, Ghatkopar and

Colaba areas in Mumbai to carry out rescue operations in the event of floods, he added.

The coast guard has also earmarked an aircraft and two vessels for search and rescue operations and for preventing fishermen from venturing into sea, he added.
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