Two teams of fishermen left here today for Sri Lanka to bring back 18 boats, released on the orders of a court in the island nation, after getting them repaired there, a top fisheries department official said. One group would go to Karaiyur to bring back 12 boats and the other to Talaimannar to get custody of six boats, Assistant Director of Fisheries M Gopinath said. He told reporters here that the team, comprising 143 fishermen and boat mechanics, would stay there, repair the boats and bring them back.
The total cost for each vessel would come to about Rs 5 lakh, he said, adding the government was taking all steps to rehabilitate the fishermen. Gopinath said 20 other seized boats had sunk while being anchored at various ports along the Sri Lankan coast. The team with the boats would be handed over by the Coast Guard to Sri Lanka at the International Maritime boundary line.