Three fishermen rescued after 22 days in high seas

Fishermen Hanseey Baraka, Akida Idd Mohamed and Fahad Ali Mohamed after they arrived in Mombasa on December 28, 2023, aboard a Kenya Coast Guard vessel from Zanzibar to Mombasa. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Three fishermen who went missing last month after their boat was swept to the high seas by rough waves arrived in Mombasa today.

Cabinet Secretary for Mining and Blue Economy Salim Mvurya said a search and rescue operation for a fourth fisherman was still underway.

The three, Hanseey Baraka Kilian, Akida Idd Mohamed and Fahad Ali Mohamed said were aboard the boat without food for 22 days before a Chinese fishing vessel came to their rescue.

The fishermen, who arrived in Mombasa aboard the Kenya Coast Guard Service flagship vessel, Doria, were rescued by a Chinese fishing vessel Lui Quing Yuan U 108 on December 24, 2023.

Families and relatives of the rescued fishermen who had thronged the Mbaraki Wharf hoping to reunite with their kin were taken away for what authorities said was counselling before they met up.

They wore red overalls and plastic shoes and looked pale with anxiety and at times shed tears

They were taken to the Mombasa Hospital for medical check-ups and counselling.

“Kenya Navy and Kenya Coast Guard Service have done an exemplary job while conducting the search and rescue. I thank the Chinese firm and their local agent here for their support and cooperation,” he said.

Kenya Coast Guard Director General Bruno Shioso said they handle over 900 similar cases involving search and rescue countrywide every year. He said 62 per cent of the cases happen along the Coast.

“We now see the importance of acquiring additional vessels to bolster our operations. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fishermen, including the one who is still missing,” he added.

Ms Lilian Mapenzi Karisa, the mother of one of the fishermen, thanked the government and the master of the Chinese fishing vessel for saving her son.

“Hanseey is my first-born son. He was staying away from us in Malindi and I did not know he was a fisherman until the accident happened,” Lilian said.

She said that they had not known peace for a whole month after being informed of what had happened to them.

“Each time I travelled to Malindi to inquire about them, I was told the search had extended to deeper waters. I strongly believed in a miracle. I am happy that I will meet and hug my son,’’ she said.