NAGERCOIL: Though more than a fortnight has passed since Ockhi wreaked havoc in the southern coasts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the fishermen community continues to wait for their missing kin with bated breath.
Clutching on to hopes against all odds the families implore the officials to expedite the rescue operations. Amid such uncertainty, Thursday was a new dawn for several families as the splashing waves brought back 47 fishermen alive to the shore. While, on one hand, pall of gloom lifted from those families with their dear ones returning, others they got a new reason to hope. Though they continue to live in trepidation, the wish to see their men alive rekindled by the apparition of weary 47 seafarers.
Confirming the news, Fr Bebinson, Parish Priest of Thoothoor said that till now 700 fishermen from Thoothoor had returned back but 38 were still missing. The fishermen returned to Vallavilai on Thursday on four mechanised boats named St Francis, Mary Immaculate, Ocean Hunter and Saint House. The eight mechanised boats, which ventured into the sea to rescue the missing seafarers, brought back the four boats with 47 fishermen on Thursday to the shores of Vallavilai.
While the missing seafarers are believed to be drowned according to the crew they travelled with, the village planned to conduct a prayer mass on Friday for the missing fishermen. Speaking to Express, Fr Bebinson said, “During Ockhi, as per our count, 60 boats from the region with more than 700 fishermen should return from deep sea fishing. Every day, boats arrive at Kerala, Lakshadweep or Kanniyakumari shores and so far, nearly 700 seafarers have returned. While some reached the shores on their boats, some others reached by clinging to logs. The fishers informed us of the people they witnessed drowning.”
Fr Bebinson mentioned that as of now three boats from the Thoothoor region were yet to return. “We hope that they had reached some islands and would return safe. Our Archbishop would be offering a Holy Mass at St. Thomas Forane Church in Thoothoor on Friday in remembrance of the missing fishermen. The fishermen family would also attend the prayers,” he added.