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Six Indian Seiners Accidents In 2 Weeks India, August 23, 12

A spate of boat accidents in less than two weeks here has had both the fisheries department and the fishermen’s association blame boat owners for lapses in maintenance. Also, many boats are not equipped with state-of-the-art gear like disaster alert transmitters, GPS and so on, which can alert authorities in case of an accident. Since the start of the fishing season on August 10, there have been six boat accidents in the estuary near Old Port. Mercifully there has been no loss of lives.

Fisheries deputy director Suresh Kumar Ullal has blamed it on the careless attitude of the boat owners in not giving the engines a proper run before embarking on fishing. “The boats are anchored for repairs and maintenance during the fishing ban. They should at least allow short runs for two days before embarking on multi-day fishing lest these problems crop up,” he adds.

Karnataka Purse Seiner Fishermen’s Association president Nitin Kumar also concurs with the view of Suresh Kumar saying the boat which sank a couple of days ago was a steel boat. “The owners may not have checked the boat hull thoroughly before embarking on fishing expedition. The base may have developed holes due to rusting in this saline weather during the fishing ban period of two months,” he added.

Suresh Kumar pointed out that most of the accident cases were related to engine trouble, barring one which capsized due to a hole.

Though the Indian Coast Guard and fisheries department have asked fishermen to install distress alert transmitters (DAT) in boats for personal safety as well as national security, only 50 boats have installed it so far. These 50 equipment were given free and were fixed on some boats as per recommendation of the fishermen’s association. Fishermen can press the first button if there is a fire on the boat and the second button for medical help. If they notice any leakage in the boat, they should press the third button and the fourth button can be used to seek help in the time of accidents.
The central server at Chennai will receive the distress message. Immediately the message will be passed on to the nearest Coast Guard headquarters and a team will be rushed to the spot for rescue operations. DAT costs Rs 10,000. Suresh Kumar said fishermen get 75% subsidy for equipment like VHF, GPS, Echo sounder and DAT. The actual cost of these equipment is Rs 1.12 lakh but fishermen have to pay only Rs 28,000.