KOCHI: Nine Indian fishermen undertook a perilious sea journey from Yemen to flee from their sponsor and arrived here on Friday, officials said.
Their arrival was made possible due to the timely intervention of the Coast Guard, they said.
The Coast Guard rescued the fishermen who fled Yemen in a fishing vessel after being harassed by their sponsor in the Middle East nation, a Defence spokesman said here on Friday.
He said the Coast Guard intervened following an e-mail from the South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (Kanyakumari) on Thursday about the nine Indian fishermen in distress at sea.
The fishermen, seven from Tamil Nadu and two from Kerala, were working in Yemen for a sponsor, who had hired them for fishing in his mechanised fishing trawler.
The sponsor had not paid them and was reluctant in providing them with basic amenities like food and shelter. So the fishermen decided to flee from Yemen to save their lives, the spokesman said in a release here.
On receipt of the message from the fraternity, the Coast Guard contacted the wife of one of the fishermen from Kanyakumari district and learnt that her husband had contacted her at 5.30 AM on November 27 off Lakshadweep.
She informed them that the fishermen were heading back to Kochi and had very little fuel and rations.
The Coast Guard then planned an air-sea coordinated search and rescue operation,in which a Maritime Surveillance Dornier aircraft was launched at 3:30 PM on Thursday from Kochi.
The aircraft spotted the fishing boat 100 nautical miles west of Kochi. Coast Guard Ship Aryaman immediately sailed from Kochi to render assistance to the fishing boat.
Theboat was located 75 nautical miles off Kochi coast and the crew were questioned to corroborate with the existing situation.
All of them were reported to be safe and healthy. The boat was brought to Kochi and handed over to Coastal Police Station (Fort Kochi) on Friday.