Steps should be taken to bring home safely nine fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Kerala suspected to be stranded off Lakshwadweep after fleeing from Yemen, their families and a fishermen's body appealed to the district Collector here on Thursday. As many as six fishermen from Kanyakumari, one from Tirunelveli district and two others elonging to neighbouring Kerala had fled from Yemen on 19 November "to save their lives from the hands of their sponsor," the South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) said.
A memorandum seeking government help to bring them home safely was submitted to the Collector Prashant M Wadnere by the family members and SAFF general secretary Father Churchill. The memorandum was also forwarded to the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
On Wednesday through a "telephone message," the fishermen informed their families that they in a mechanised boat somehow reached Indian waters near Lakshadweep, the SAFF said in a statement.
However for the last 30 hours, there was no communication from them which indicated that they may be stranded and suffering without food and water. Hence, the government should steps to safely bring them home, the SAFF said.
"The fishermen told their families that they have been sailing for days without food and sufficient fuel. They were not sure if they would be able to reach the shores without danger," Father Churchill said.
From day one of their employment in foreign shores, the fishermen's Yemen-based sponsor compelled them to go for everyday fishing but never provided remuneration, he alleged.The sponsor was neither ready to allow them to return to India nor pay the promised share of catch and remuneration.
"The fishermen tried all possible ways to get mercy and justice from their sponsor but everything ended in failure," he said adding the nine fishermen were hence forced to flee from Yemen, Churchill said.
He urged the Centre to take appropriate steps to protect the interests of Indian fishermen who go to foreign shores to eke out their livelihood.