Indian Naval Ship Sharda, based at Kochi, rescued five fishermen at sea who were floating in the water after their fishing vessel, FV Omkaram, sank, some 35 km North West of Azhikal port, on 04 Mar 19. The incident occurred at around 09:30 AM when the ship was on patrol in the area.
An alert lookout sighted a movement in the water, which turned out to be the five floating fishermen. The ship acted with alacrity and immediately altered course towards the survivors.
It thereafter lowered its life boats and successfully rescued and brought on board all five fishermen within ten minutes of the initial sighting. Two of the fishermen had sustained minor injuries and were administered first aid by the Ship’s Medical Team. The ship thereafter headed for Kochi to disembark the survivors.
The rescued fishermen have indicated that they had cast off from Cheruvathur in Kasargod at 04:00 AM on 04 Mar 19. As per them, water started entering their 13 feet boat, which they were unable to control, and the heavy flooding ultimately caused the boat to sink.
The fishermen had to remain afloat without any life saving devices from 06:30 AM till the time they were rescued. They were out of mobile range and were unable to swim or to seek help from other boats.
They said that they had removed their clothes to wave at the ship and had almost lost hope of being rescued. All the survivors Manoharan (56) (Boat Owner), Vasav (57), Chandran (60), Suresh (42), Surendran (49) belong to Kanjanghad, Kasargod. The survivors were provided food, water and fresh clothing by the ship’s crew. Efforts are on to inform their next of kin as well as Trikkaripur local coastal police station.
INS Sharda is an offshore Patrol Vessel of the Indian Navy and presently in its 26th year of commission. The ship is actively deployed for coastal surveillance and patrolling off Kerala and Lakshadweep islands and has also undertaken regular anti-piracy deployments in the Gulf of Aden.
The ship was earlier too involved in rescue of 21 fishermen during Cyclone Ockhi and was also used for distribution of relief material during Op Madad, which was launched by the Southern Naval Command, at the time of the Kerala floods. The ship is presently commanded by Commander R Anoop.