Adverse weather – no damage to fishing boats

By Sarah Hannan

The adverse weather which prevailed over the last few days affected the fishing activities of 20 multi-day boats that were at sea. Initially, the Department of Fisheries, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had sought permission from India to cross their territorial waters to allow the boats to be birthed at Minicoy Island.

However, with the change of wind direction, the boats were not in a position to sail in towards it. Understanding that the headwind was towards the Maldives, the Department of Fisheries had then requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek approval from the Government of Maldives to permit the boats to be birthed in Kulhudhuffushi.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Assistant Director H.D.P. Tissera stated: “Out of the 20 boats that were stranded, seven were able to sail to the piers of Kulhudhuffushi in the Maldives. The boats were not damaged and the crews too were unharmed by the adverse weather. Only one fisherman suffered a gastritis attack and was supplied with medical attention as soon as they reached the Colombo fishing port.”

The fishermen had been in routine contact throughout the stormy weather via radio communication with the Department, and Tissera confirmed that the constant communication had facilitated the safe passage of the boats and fishermen over the past few days.

He further noted that while some of the boats sailed back to Sri Lanka, a few others were continuing with fishing activities in international waters with the return of favourable weather conditions.