NAGERCOIL: For 15 fishermen from Kanniyakumari who managed to safely reach the Maharashtra coast on December 1, their communication equipment was the lifesaver. Speaking to Express from Maharashtra, 45-year-old Arockyaraj, a fisherman from Enayam port in Kanniyakumari said, he along with others ventured into the sea from Beypore, Kerala on November 21.
“We usually go fishing for around 10 days in the Arabian sea and usually carry a wireless communication device. When the cyclone hit Kanniyakumari, we did not realise it as there were just rains and waves in the sea. However, a few fishermen from Beypore port informed the other boats near the shore regarding the cyclone.”
More than 68 boats from Kerala and Tamil Nadu were alerted about the cyclone at night on December 1.
“To escape from the deluge, we moved further into the sea and reached the shores of Devgad harbour. When we met the port officials, we informed them of the situation and sought shelter,” he said.
The other fisherman who saw Ockhi up close mid sea and survived to tell the tale in Xavier Suresh (45) of Colachel. He is one among the fishermen to survive the wrath of Ockhi, mid sea. With trembling voice, 45-year-old fisherman Xavier Suresh of Colachel said, it all started during the morning hours of November 28 with heavy winds.
Xavier along with four others ventured into the sea from Colachel harbour on November 23. “When we reached mid sea, it was drizzling and we were having good catch. On November 28, the situation worsened and heavy winds started blowing, accompanied by rains. Thinking that the worst is yet to arrive, we planned our return journey around 10 am.” However, it was hard for them to execute their plans as, Xavier added, the winds were turning stronger.
“We have faced many storms and heavy winds while fishing, but we never experienced something like this. Staying in the boat became difficult for us and heavy rains hindered our vision. When the boat was swaying in sea, Justin Babu, who came with us, fell into the sea and the ropes to help him got stuck with the ship.
We were helpless as we could not help Justin when he fell into the sea before drowning. When we jumped into the boat after a lot of struggle, we could not see him and contacted the neighbouring boats via walkie-talkie for help. By that time, dusk has set in and we were hoping for help against all odds,” he said.
After hours of struggle and with the help of another boat, Suresh along with others reached the shores on November 30. They described that communication was a major hindrance for them.