Rameswaram, May 14: The Indian Navy and Coast Guard (CG) today launched a massive air and sea search operation to trace 19 fishermen, who were reportedly missing.
Talking to the sources, Assistance Director (Marine) of the Fisheries Department S Vel Pandiyan said the fishermen, hailing from Maanthoppu area in Thangachimadam coastal hamlet, ventured into the sea for fishing in four out-board engine fitted country boats on May five. As per their schedule, they should have returned by May 10.
The Tamil Nadu Government had sought the assistance of Indian Navy and CG to trace the fishermen.
Asked whether there was a possibility of the fishermen being arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, he said ''If the Lankan Navy had arrested them, they would have informed the Indian Government immediately.'' ''Since the weather condition is rough, the fishermen may have stranded in an island between Sri Lanka and Rameswaram,'' he added.
Meanwhile, a search team, comprising a group of fishermen from Rameswaram had set sail on the sea this morning to trace them.