PARADIP: Even as sea voyages are increasingly becoming difficult for fishermen of Jagatsinghpur district, an initiative to provide them Disaster Alert Transmitter (DAT) devices by the Coast Guard and Marine Fisheries Directorate, Government of Odisha, has not made much headway.
Owing to the heavy wind and tidal waves under the impact of cyclonic storm ‘Daye’, 14 fishermen went missing in the sea. They were stranded in deep sea after their boats developed snag this week. While the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel launched a search operation, they could not locate the fishermen owing to the weather condition.
Three days back, seven fishermen in two boats - Nirman and Omm Maa Parbati - had gone to the sea for fishing despite cyclone alert. Sources said the boat engines developed snag and they could not return to the coast. They were rescued by a ICG vessel ‘Sujay’ on Friday. While one of the boats had not received DAT, the other had received it but had not installed it as a result of which, ICG could not locate the ships in the deep sea.
In 2011, the ICG and ISRO had developed these low cost devices to make sea voyages safe and hassle-free for fishermen. The device has round-the-clock satellite link and in case of emergency, the fishermen can use the user-friendly device to connect to Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), Chennai, which is the hub for DATS. The signal from a DAT, when activated from a fishing boat, is detected by the INSAT and relayed to the MRCC. All information, including the registration number and beacon ID, is available at the MRCC to identify the boat, and its location for speedy rescue.
Assistant Director of Fisheries (Marine), Kujang, Manas Ranjan Sahoo said DATs were distributed among around 500 fishermen in the district but many of them did not fit the devices to their boats. Those who installed the devices, have not linked them with the MRCC, he added.