In accordance with an order from District Collector N. Tej Lohit Reddy, a comprehensive safety audit is underway in Kozhikode District to check the condition of fishing boats and the quality of lifesaving accessories kept by boat owners for emergency rescue operations.
A few recent incidents in which fishermen have been clean-shaven following incidents of boat capsizing off the Kozhikode coast have also been instrumental in tightening safety measures.
“We have frequently inspected fishing boats since the onset of the monsoon on government instructions. In the wake of the collector’s latest directive, the action will intensify,” Deputy Director of Fisheries Abdul Majeed said. He clarified that fishing boats with inboard engines would be specifically examined.
According to Majeed, the turbulent weather has hit the operation of field boats and those with inboard engines. “As the trawling ban is in place, the majority of large fishing vessels are now off the trail. There will be increased vigilance once the ban is lifted,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association has hailed the district administration’s decision to enforce boat safety regulations. However, they demanded that the existing rescue facilities be streamlined.
“The sea ambulance cannot be used for rescue operations when the sea is rough. Rescue teams still depend on traditional mechanized boats to handle critical situations. Unfortunately, the government has spent more than ₹6 crore on such an unsuccessful project,” said Karichali Preman, vice president of the association.
He added that communication devices for sending emergency messages from boats were still in their infancy. “We follow an original relay system or transmit emergency messages to the Beypore fishing station. Likewise, we do not yet have a fully equipped sea rescue team for the fisheries department or the coastal police,” he said.