[Reader-list] Fisherworkers seek marine ambulance

T Peter peter.ksmtf at gmail.com
Mon Jul 27 20:02:55 CDT 2015

Fisherworkers seek marine ambulance


The State government’s decision to join hands with the Indian Navy for a
permanent mechanism to use defence aircraft as air ambulances for organ
transport has re-ignited the demand for a marine ambulance service to help
stranded fishermen and tourists in need of medical assistance.

Leaders of organisations representing fishworkers feel that the seaplane
service promoted by the government could be effectively used to rush
victims of accidents at sea to hospital. “In the case of an accident off
the coast of Thiruvananthapuram, the victims could be transported up to the
Aakkulam lake from where they could be easily shifted to a hospital
nearby,” says T. Peter, secretary, National Fishworkers Forum.

A project mooted by the government to establish a marine ambulance service
at five major fishing centres has failed to materialise. The State budget
for 2013-14 had earmarked Rs.3 crore for the project involving the
deployment of specialised vessels equipped with modern medical facilities.
The proposal was to provide the marine ambulance service at Vizhinjam,
Neendakara, Vypeen, Beypore, and Azheekal ports.

*The scene at present*

“Calling for assistance from the Navy and Coast Guard to evacuate fishermen
at sea requiring emergency medical aid is a cumbersome process, taking
precious time. The rescue is often carried out using hired vessels with
little or no medical facilities. The marine ambulance service was mooted to
address this situation”, says an official with the Fisheries department.

In 2014, the government had invited tenders for the design and construction
of a marine ambulance equipped with an intensive care unit. The project,
however, has remained in limbo as the bid quotation was found to be too

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