In order to escape their sponsor, 9 fishermen took an arduous journey via sea from Yemen and reached Kochi on 29 November. This journey was made possible due to timely intervention of the Indian Coast Guard. The Coast Guard rescued the fishermen who fled Yemen in a fishing vessel after being harassed by their sponsor in the Middle East nation, a Defence spokesman said on Friday.
The two fisherman who belong to Kerala and seven from Tamil Nadu, undertook a perilous journey of around 3,000 kilometers in the open and sometimes rough sea in a fishing vessel they stole from their sponsor. Their voyage lasted for ten days in a vessel not equipped for crossing the sea and the entire episode is quite heroic. They fled to escape their sponsor who had employed them to work on their mechanized fishing trawler, but was followed by an year of mistreatment and pittance of pay. They reported, to have been denied basic amenities like food, shelter etc.
On receipt of the message from the fraternity, the Coast Guard contacted the wife of one of the fishermen from Kanyakumari district and discovered that her husband had contacted her at 5.30 am on November 27 off Lakshadweep. She informed them that the fishermen were heading back to Kochi and had very little fuel and rations; hence required assistance.
The Coast Guard then planned an air-sea coordinated search and rescue operation, in which a Maritime Surveillance Dornier aircraft was launched at 3:30 PM on Thursday from Kochi. The aircraft spotted the fishing boat 100 nautical miles west of Kochi. The Coast Guard Ship Aryaman immediately sailed from Kochi to render assistance to the fishing boat. All fishermen are reported safe and healthy.