100 fishing boats missing in TN; cyclonic winds claim one life

An unspecified number of fishermen, who put out to sea in over 100 boats from this region on Monday, are missing, officials said on Wednesday.

Updated: May 19, 2010, 17:49 PM IST

Rameswaram (TN): An unspecified number of
fishermen, who put out to sea in over 100 boats from this
region on Monday, are missing even as strong winds lashing
coastal Tamil Nadu under the influence of cyclone "Laila"
claimed one life near here, officials said on Wednesday.

Fishermen of Pamban, Uchipuli and nearby areas who
ventured into sea on May 17 night in boats with outboard
motors were missing, fisheries department officials said.

It was not known how many fishermen were onboard these
boats which were not capable of withstanding the impact of
cyclonic wind and rough sea, they said, adding a search was on
to locate them.

Various coastal areas of Tamil Nadu have been experiencing
rains and gutsy winds as the cyclone, "Laila", lay centered in
the Bay of Bengal, 190 km east-northeast of Chennai, and is
likely to cross Andhra Pradesh coast tomorrow.

A 52-year old fisherman drowned in sea current at
Tirupalakudi village near here while trying to retrieve his
boat which got snapped from its mooring following heavy wind.

A report from Cuddalore said three fishermen of
Devanampattinam were missing after they ventured into sea in a
fibre boat last afternoon, triggering tension in the hamlet.

Search operations could not be carried out immediately in
view of high tides and very rough sea, officials said.

In another incident, four fishermen were injured when five
boats capsized when they were heading towards the shore in
Cuddalore district, they said.

The strong cyclonic winds sweeping coastal areas of the
state since yesterday left 140 boats damaged in Ramanathapuram

Officials said 40 country boats anchored along Mandapam
coast were reduced to single planks, while 100 boats,
including an Indian Coastguard vessel and two boats of Coastal
Security Police, were damaged in Pamban.

State Slum Clearance Minister Suba Thangavelan,
accompanied by District Collector T N Hariharan, visited the
affected areas in Pamban and Mandapam.

Thangavelan said full compensation would be given to
fishermen whose boats were destroyed while repair charges
would be given for partially damaged vessels.