THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Family members of 19 fishermen from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, reported missing in the aftermath of cyclone Ockhi, today met Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and sought help to trace them.
The families, including small children, met the Chief Minister at the Secretariat here, a government press release said.
Meanwhile, a defence release in Kochi said Indian Navy continued 'Operation Sahayam', an exercise to undertake search and rescue and provide humanitarian assistance, over South East Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.
Nine naval ships and four types of aircraft, including long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I have been deployed in an extended search area upto 300 miles west of Lakshwadeep islands and 450 miles off the Kerala coast.
The P8I aircraft detected a drifting fishing vessel 180 miles northwest of Kavaratti and directed a ship to provide assistance. The 13 member crew were taken on board early this morning and provided food, water and medical aid.
Two ships with eight local fishermen from Kochi and Kollam joined search and rescue efforts and to facilitate guided search for missing fishing vessels. The ships would return to Kochi after completion of the search.
A naval ship positioned at Kavaratti provided 12000 litres of fresh water as requested by the Lakshadweep administration.
Relief material required had already been delivered, it said.
Relief material for Minicoy, including 2,000 litres of fresh water, medicines, food, petrol, emergency lights, portable 10 KVA power generators, toolkits and boiler suits, as requested, would be delivered tomorrow morning by a ship.
The Indian Navy thus far provided assistance to 187 persons at sea, besides saving 148 lives and undertaking evacuation of three bodies from the deep sea.
All search and rescue activities are being conducted in coordination with central agencies, the release added.