We are unsure whether we will be back from sea alive, says fishermen

At nights big ships fail to spot small boats, the victims of the latest midsea collision said.

Published: 08th August 2018 05:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2018 05:47 AM   |  A+A-

Sapan Sarkar, relative of Bipul Das, who went missing  A Sanesh

Express News Service

KOCHI: Sapan Sarkar, the native of West Bengal, is devastated hearing the news of the midsea collision. His brother-in-law Bipul Das is one among the nine fishermen who went missing at the sea after a ship rammed the boat they were travelling. He says, “It has been three years since we arrived at Kochi. We had dinner together last night, and it was around 9 pm that he went fishing.”  The tale of the fisherfolk remains the same everywhere. “Since the last 30 years, I have been working and each day is a challenge for us. Whenever we venture to the sea, our family back home is full of prayers. We are not sure whether we will come back alive or dead,” said Joy, a fisherman at Munnambam. 

READ | Three dead, nine missing as ship rams fishing boat off Kochi

For the fisherfolks, the boat is their home. “We sleep in our boat and our lives are spent on it. We feed our families with our hard earned money,” said Hari Gopal Das, a worker from Bengal.They said many a time they are forced to venture deep into the sea.  “Sometimes the non-availability of big fish along the coast forces fishermen to venture deep into the sea. At nights, big ships fail to spot small boats. In this incident too, the rescue operations were initiated by the other fishermen who spotted danger,” said Rajeev, another fisherman. 

They say it is not possible to stay awake all the time. “If 10 fishermen go to sea on boats,  six or seven of them will be sleeping and the remaining ones will be fishing. They may also be sleeping when tired and any mishap can happen during the night,” added Joy.

Meanwhile, the locals and the fishermen blame authorities for not taking timely action. “Nine people are missing 28 nautical miles off the harbour. Yet, there is little coordination from the authorities. The Navy, the disaster management team and the Coast Guard all arrived late,” said Father Johnson Pankayath.


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