Rescued kumari fishermen recall month-long ordeal on Salomon Island
MADURAI: After enduring several days of ordeal at deep sea and stranded in the British Indian Ocean territory of Salomon Islands, three Tamil Nadu fishermen, who were part of a 14-member crew on board, returned home safe at Eraviputhenthurai, a coastal hamlet in Kanniyakumari district, sources said on Wednesday.
The rescued fishermen, who belong to Eraviputhenthurai, a village under the limits of Thoothoor panchayat, are J Antony Doss (45) of Kurusadi Valaaham and V Titus (43) of the same village. The other one, who’s engaged in cooking on board, belongs to Salem.
The boat bearing registration number TN 15 MM 5338 set out for fishing off Thengapattinam coast, Kanniyakumari district on November 27. It developed engine snag on December 4 and drifted. Everyone stranded on the boat spent sleepless nights throughout the ordeal.
“After surviving the rough seas, it was a godsend that we were rescued by a Sri Lankan fishing boat, which crossed by on December 6, when we were in one of Salomon Islands where the living proved a temporary solution. The Lankan boat took two trips after rescuing the entire crew that landed safely on the isle on December 23.”
Before sailing to the isle, the fishermen aboard the stranded boat went through hard times. “Since we were familiar with sea weather, a fishing net with loads of stones was tied down to anchorage. However, the boat broke loose on December 19 and 22.
On December 27, the fishermen breathed a big sigh of relief when an Offshore Support Vessel (OSV) Grampian Endurance, after spotting them on the isle, offered them a helping hand.
Doss said after he raised a red-flag rescue alert, a three-member crew, who spoke in English, offered them fruits and gave them a wireless communication device.
“I said we’re all Indians and could not communicate in English. The foreign crew managed to rescue us on board from the isle and handed us over to the Indian Coast Guard in waters off Vizhinjam, Kerala on January 2,” Doss said.
Official sources said the rest of those rescued belong to Kerala. The ordeal endured by Titus has emotionally battered his family members who have been waiting in anticipation to unite with him. Anitha, his wife, said he reached home safely at 9.30 p.m. on January 2.