Enhancing Emergency Response for Fishermen, The Need for Ambulance Boats and Helicopter Support

The recent tragic incident involving the crew of the Devon 5, who died after inadvertently drinking a bottle of acid that had drifted at sea, has highlighted the urgent need for better emergency response mechanisms in our fishing areas. While such incidents may be rare, they underscore the necessity of having reliable and efficient medical emergency services available to our fishermen. Currently, there is a lack of adequate emergency response infrastructure for our fishermen. In cases of severe medical emergencies at sea, the response time can be critically long, resulting in preventable loss of lives. Despite the suggestions from various stakeholders to enhance our emergency response capabilities, progress has been hampered by bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of foresight.

To address this issue, we propose the deployment of at least three ambulance boats equipped with medical facilities and trained personnel to provide immediate medical assistance in fishing areas. These boats would be strategically placed to ensure rapid response to emergencies. Having dedicated ambulance boats would significantly improve the chances of survival in medical emergencies at sea. Many people have suggested that the Navy or the Coast Guard could provide helicopter support for such emergencies. An air wing for the Navy was proposed some time ago, but due to the lack of foresight of certain decision-makers, this initiative was not realized. If we had helicopter support, we could reduce the distance and time needed to reach those in distress, especially in remote areas of the sea.

Countries like Japan have addressed similar issues with enthusiasm and efficiency. We could seek their help to implement similar systems here. Funding for these initiatives could come from the boat owners themselves or through an insurance scheme to cover emergency operations. Fishermen must also take responsibility for their safety and wellbeing, ensuring they are prepared for emergencies.

Therefore, we believe it would be beneficial to establish a system that includes at least two helicopters for the Coast Guard , specifically for emergency response in the fishing industry. This, coupled with ambulance boats, would ensure a robust and effective emergency response system. Such a system is not only feasible but urgently needed to protect the lives of our fishermen and enhance their safety at sea.

Ayesh Indranath Ranawaka .


ocean 1 st by oceanlust

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