Chennai: Nine of the eight fishermen from Kasimedu, who had drifted to Myanmar while fishing in mid sea after their boat developed a snag in July, returned home to an emotional reception on Thursday, ending their more than 70-day ordeal.
Thanks to sustained efforts taken by the Centre and the Tamilnadu government, the fishermen landed in New Delhi from Myanmar Wednesday evening.
From New Delhi, there arrived at the airport here where Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar received them by presenting shawls and bouquets.
The nine member team had left the Kasimedu fishing harbour on 27 July and lost contact with the shore after their boat developed a snag.
The crew informed that the boat engine failed near Pulicat, north of Chennai. The boat drifted towards the Myanmar coast due to inclement weather conditions.
They drifted at sea for over 50 days and all the nine were rescued by the Myanmar Coast Guard on 14 September.
However, one of them fell into the sea while anchoring the boat a couple of days later and a search has been launched to trace him. Jayakumar then said steps have been taken to bring back the fishermen home soon.
The State government had written to the Centre and also to neighbouring States asking them for any information about the missing fishermen.
“Also through the External Affairs Ministry, we sought the assistance of neighbouring Myanmar, Thailand and Bangladesh to trace them”, he said.
“The Myanmar Coast Guard located our fishermen and safely rescued them to Myanmar. The Indian mission in Myanmar has informed that the fishermen were doing well and provided with food and other facilities”, he said.
The fishermen had set sail into the sea in a mechanized fishing boat with registration number IND-TN-02-MM-2029 from Kasimedu in Chennai on 27 July and were slated to return on 7 August.
However, they went missing following which their families and the boat owner had filed a complaint with the police.
The Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard launched a massive search for them when they were susbequently rescued by Myanmar Coast Guard after which they returned home today, ending their nearly 73-day ordeal.