CHENNAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised various bilateral issues during his recent to Philippines. But 10 families in Tamil Nadu want him to put pressure on the Manila government to intensify the search to locate 10 missing Indian sailors.
Still living on hope although 33 days have passed since the 33,205-tonne ship Emerald Star, flying Hong Kong flag, sank in the Pacific off Philippines, the families feel the sailors would have managed to reach ashore and could be living on the islands along Phillippines coast.
Bevin, father of 23-year-old Thomas, who has come all the way from Punna Kayal in Thoothkudi district to submit a petition to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, wants the search operations to be focussed on the nearby islands. “Why are they still searching in the sea?” he wonders.
Thomas is the sole breadwinner of the family. Bevin, a fisherman by occupation, has three daughters and now with the sole breadwinner missing, the family is hoping that he would have survived the storm that brought down the vessel.
All the 10 families have urged Chief Minister to intervene and urge the Centre to focus the search and rescue operation on nearby Islands. The plea by the families comes in the wake of Modi becoming the first Indian prime minister to visit Philippines in over 36 years to strengthen bilateral ties with the nation.
“Two days ago, we got a message from the shipping company that the search is still on,” informs R Subramanian, father of third officer S Giridhar Kumar. “We hope the Centre intervenes again to focus the search on nearby islands,” he says.
Giridhar’s father-in-law N Murugaraj told Express that Giridhar, who was married to his daughter a year ago, was yet to see his child, born recently.
The missing sailors
1. Captain Nair Rajesh Ramachandran
2. Second officer Rahul Kumar
3. Third Officer Subramanian Giridhar Kumar
4. Chief Engineer Rajput Shyam Singh
5. Fourth Engineer Subbiah Suresh Kumar
6.Junior Engineer Chauhan Ashok Kumar
7. Perumalswamy Gurumurthy
8. Malavaranan Silambarasan
9. Murugan Gowtham
10. Bevin Thomas