Fishing boat mishaps: High-speed marine ambulances to ensure faster response

The proposed high speed marine ambulances will be modeled around the existing 108 ambulances plying along Kerala roads.

With mishaps in the high seas involving fishing vessels often tending to be grave owing to lack of speedy response from the coast, the Kerala government has lined up measures to roll out high-speed marine ambulances.

These proposed high-speed marine ambulances will be modelled around the existing 108 ambulances plying along Kerala’s roads. The plan is to ensure fast response whenever fishing boats get involved in accidents off the coast and help the fishermen reach the shore safer.

Kerala already has in place a marine ambulance system to ensure aid when it comes to mishaps involving fishing vessels. However, they have been unable to carry out high-speed missions, and this has prompted the government to look at faster alternatives.

Marine ambulances currently deployed aren’t enough

It has been pointed out that the marine ambulances deployed along the Kerala coast soon after Cyclone Okhi had struck have proved to be of not much use. Though they have been useful in as many as 42 rescue efforts in various places across Kerala, the faster response time was still lacking.

According to Saji Cherian, Minister for Fisheries, Government of Kerala, his department has already opened parleys with the Coast Guard on the proposed deployment of high-speed marine ambulances. This apart, the government is also looking at the deployment of a permanent coastal rescue system manned by around 300 trained youths from the fishing community, he added.

Traditional boats under insurance cover

Besides providing the service of high-speed marine ambulances along the coast, the government will also provide insurance cover to all the traditional fishing boats currently in operation along the state’s coast. The existing insurance plan has been modelled in such a way that the beneficiaries bear 10 per cent of the cost while the state pays the remaining 90 per cent.

This will be done away with, the Fisheries Minister said, adding that the full 100 per cent cost will be borne by the government. This is being done because many fishermen in the state had opted to keep off from availing of insurance due to the 10 per cent beneficiary costs they had to pay. This practice will now change with all fishermen in the state opting for insurance cover.



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