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Kerala: Coastal residents' long-pending demand for marine ambulances nears realisation by Unnikrishnan S July 23,2020   |  Source: The New Indian Express

The decks have been cleared for the commissioning of the state's first set of marine ambulances, a long-pending demand of the fishing community. Given the spike in COVID-19 cases, marine ambulances could be of immense help should coastal areas face medical emergencies. The first marine ambulance -- named 'Pratheeksha' -- will be deployed at Vizhinjam, followed by 'Prathyasha' at Vypeen and 'Karunya' at Beypore. The fisheries department is awaiting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's date for the launch, an officer said.

The project to help fishermen in distress has reached a stage of realisation after the fisheries department missed a series of deadlines for its commissioning. While Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma had announced the ambulances would be launched by the end of June, trial runs of the boats were delayed even as the Mumbai-based engineer of a private company who was to certify the engines fitted on the boats tested COVID-positive.

"There was a delay in conducting the trial run and in placing the medical equipment on board," said the fisheries department officer. The Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) built the three marine ambulances at a combined cost of Rs 18.24 crore, with the float out ceremony having been held last month. The 22-metres-long ambulances are

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)