3 fishermen still missing after 24 hours

Express July 22, 2010

KARACHI: Twenty four hours after the incident, the bodies of three fishermen, who went missing after a boat capsized on Wednesday night, are still nowhere to be found. They have been identified as Amin Batani, Khamoon and Jamal Jamali.

The boat, with 10 fishermen onboard, turned over in the rough sea amid strong winds near Khahi creek.

The body of one fisherman, 35-year-old Abdul Sattar, was found on Thursday morning and was sent to his village of Chohar Jamali, Thatta.

A Pakistan Marine Agency helicopter and more than 10 boats belonging to the local fishermen continued the search operation.

The ill-fated boat, Al-Amber, left the Ibrahim Hyderi jetty on Wednesday and overturned near Khahi, about 30 kilometres from the local jetty, at around 9 pm, said six of the fishermen who safely swam to shore. Those who reached safely include Ali Gul, Siddique Batani, Bachayo, Laloo Shah, Hameed and Raza Muhammad. They were moved to the Sindh Government Hospital, Ibrahim Hyderi.

“We can’t say whether they are dead or alive. We are searching all the islands and the mangroves, but there are no traces,” said Sami Memon, spokesman for the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF).

Abdul Sattar, the fisherman whose body was found, was about to get married. “He came to Ibrahim Hyderi to earn some money before his wedding which was to be held next week,” he said.

PFF chairman Muhammad Ali Shah said that the problem was that there was no effective communication system, such as wireless sets, so that each boat can be monitored and rescued in an emergency. “It is the responsibility of the Fishermen’s Cooperative Society to build such a system, but unfortunately, nothing is being done,” he said.

“They only pay Rs10,000 to the family of the deceased as there is a severe shortage of funds,” Shah explained. And Rs300,000 are given to those families who have health insurance. “Fishermen don’t know much about insurance and most of them cannot afford it either.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2010.


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