Kozhikode: The Kerala government is set to launch its first 'sea rescue squad' comprising fishermen and the first set of invitations for prospective members has gone out. The move comes after realising the critical role that fishermen could play in the overwhelming flood the state had witnessed a few months ago. Aimed at institutionalising rescue efforts with available manpower, the state government has now decided to give scientific training to interested fishermen and make them into a recognised rescue force.
“The project was mulled even during Cyclone Ockhi (late 2017) to equip them (fishermen) to fight the disasters happening in the sea in a scientific manner. The call was strengthened during the floods when the fishermen played an important role in rescue. In selecting the candidates for training also, preference would be given to those who took part in the rescue operations,” said Smitha R Nair, Joint Director of Fisheries (Project).
In the first phase, 900 candidates from all the coastal districts in Kerala would be selected and sent to the National Institute of Water Sports, Goa. The training would be funded by the Kerala government. Initially, 10 batches of 30 people each would be attending the training in Goa.
The last date for application for training was November 15. The government is now scrutinising the applications received. If the number of applications is less than 900, notifications would be sent again, the official stated.
The applications were invited from the owners of vessels also, and their vessels as well would be taken for the training session. The fisheries department expects to send the first batch by December first week, once the application process is over.