CHENNAI, INDIA: Thirty-five Indian fishermen who drifted into Sri Lankan waters late last month were taken back to the state of Tamil Nadu by the Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday, the Press Trust of India reported.
A total of 40 fishermen on 10 boats became distressed in rough seas between December 18 and December 29 as a result of poor weather and heavy winds. They had ventured into the seas from different coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and were pushed into Sri Lankan waters.
Of the fishermen, 36 were rescued but later detained by Sri Lankan authorities. Following the intervention of the Tamil Nadu government and the Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka, the rescued fishermen were released by a local court "without being made to undergo any procedures."
Four fishermen remain missing and are feared to have drowned.
The repatriation on Tuesday had earlier been delayed after Cyclone Thane struck India's southeastern coast last week, killing 46 people. Thane was the strongest cyclone of the 2011 North Indian Ocean cyclone season, which runs throughout the year although most cyclones tend to form between April and December, with notable peaks in May and November. (Source: BNO NEWS)