Marine

A maritime ambulance system based on “108” ambulances must be implemented, according to the Minister of Fisheries

Government of Kerala to assume 100% of cost of insurance coverage for traditional fishing vessels

The state government plans to launch a high-speed maritime ambulance system modeled on the “108” ambulances to ensure rapid response in the event of an accident involving fishing vessels, the fisheries minister said on Friday. Saji Cherian at the Assembly. Existing marine ambulances are unable to perform high speed missions. The government has had extensive discussions with the Coast Guard on the deployment of new high speed marine ambulances. A permanent coastal rescue system with around 300 young people trained from the fishing community is also under consideration, the minister said.

Mr Vincent, MPP, said the three maritime ambulances purchased after Cyclone Ockhi were ineffective. The minister said the existing ambulances are not high-speed ships, but have been used in 17 rescue operations in Vizhinjam, 21 in Vypeen and four in Beypore.

Insurance cover

He said the state government will provide insurance coverage for all traditional fishing vessels in the state with the government paying 100% of the cost for this, instead of the recipient’s current arrangement taking 10% of the costs and the State the rest. He said boat owners were reluctant to apply for the insurance plan due to the requirement for a profit share, which the government is now removing. The government already covers 100% of the cost of personal insurance for fishing workers.

It has been found that there have been years of delay in processing group insurance claims. The government has been in talks with insurance companies to resolve the issues. The Kerala Fishermen’s Welfare Fund Board (KFWFB) also organizes district level adalats as part of this. The regional council executives have been tasked with ensuring that requests are processed within a specified timeframe after the request is submitted. The registration of fishery workers is a problem. A statewide investigation will be conducted to ensure registration of all fishing workers. A portal will be opened for this purpose and the whole process will be completed in six months.

Responding to questions, the minister said 40,000 life jackets were distributed free of charge during the tenure of the previous LDF government. However, fishing workers said it was difficult to wear them while fishing, but they are required to wear them compulsorily when going out to sea and when returning when the maximum number of accidents occurs. No punitive measures can be taken in this regard. Awareness is the key, he said.

Mr Cherian said there has been a decline in the fish population due to the unscientific practice of pair trawling. No less than 35 fishing boats have been seized this year for unscientific fishing practices. The state government has limits in taking action against such practices beyond the 12 nautical mile limit.


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