KANYAKUMARI: The Tamil Nadu government on Monday said a total of 2,604 fishermen out of the 2,864 caught in the cyclone Ockhi have been rescued and search for the remaining 260 is on.
In a statement issued here, the state government said 2,604 fishermen were rescued from the sea after they were caught in the cyclone Ockhi and the search operations were continuing for the remaining 260 fishermen.
According to the government, 220 fishermen from Kanyakumari district were rescued out of 294 who went missing due to cyclone while fishing.
In addition, 2,384 fishermen and their 205 boats were rescued out of the 2,570 fishermen who had sailed in 284 boats from other places in the state, the statement said.
The government said search operations were being carried out to locate and rescue the remaining fishermen and their boats.
Meanwhile, women members of the fisher folk community held a protest in Kanyakumari district demanding that authorities intensify rescue operations to trace those caught in the deep sea in the wake of cyclone Ockhi.
Hundreds of women protested on the roads in Neerodi village, demanding the authorities trace their loved ones who are still missing since Ockhi struck southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala on November 30.
According to the fishing community in Kanyakumari, over 1,000 fishermen went into the sea before Ockhi struck the southern districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, some fishermen in Kanyakumari district have said that the Indian Coast Guard personnel was carrying out search operations only within 40 nautical miles from the shore and not venturing into deep sea, 200 nautical miles from the shore, where many fishermen go for deep sea fishing.
Speaking to a television channel, a fisherman in Kanyakumari who came back to the shore said: "Only God saved my life. We were thrown into the sea by the cyclone (Ockhi)."
He said he saw several bodies floating by when he was in mid sea.
Another person said deep sea fishermen would remain in the sea for several days. "They normally come back before Christmas and only then it will be known how many escaped the fury of Ockhi and how many succumbed to it."
According to defence officials, the coast guards carry out search operations within 100 to 150 nautical miles and they go beyond that depending on the situation.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Press Information Bureau (Defence Wing) said 32 Tamil Nadu fishing boats with 346 fishermen had taken safe shelter at Karwar out of the 129 fishing boats and 1,247 fishermen, also belonging to Kerala, Karnataka and Maharshtra.
It also said that 25 Tamil Nadu fishing boats had also taken shelter at Meriya Bander, Ratnagiri and Devgarh.
In addition, 80 fishing boats from Kerala, 45 from Karnataka and 15 from Goa have reached Devgarh, Malvan, Meriya Bandar and Karwar ports safely.
According to the statement, three ships and one aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard - Eastern Region were continuing with search and rescue operation off the Kanyakumari coast.
A total of 11 Indian Coast Guard ships, two aircraft and two helicopters are presently carrying out search and rescue operations off the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep and Minicoy.