Lost fishermen back home

26-01-2010 22:41

Three Socotran fishermen pronounced dead after getting lost while fishing sharks in September 28, 2009 happily returned back to Socotra in mid-January 2010. They were saved by a ship heading to Bangladesh and brought back home with help of Yemeni authorities.

Most Socotran fishermen prefer fishing sharks for their high price on the market. The traditional way of catching sharks is to drive by boat two and half or three hours out to the open sea. Fishermen usually set off at 4 p.m. and after they reach the fishing point they spread nets and go to sleep until 3 or 4 a.m. At dawn they pull out their nets with the catch and head back to the shore using compass to keep direction.

 

How did the fishermen got lost?

As the windy season ended in last September, Socotran fishermen were excited to go for shark fishing again after a long period of waiting. September 26, after the end of the holy month of Ramadan, to local fishermen set off to the sea on a slightly windy day. As they got up at 4 a.m. to check their catch they found a great white shark in their net. One more man joined them from another boat to help with getting the shark out of the net. At 11 a.m. they finally succeeded with their tough task while they were supposed to reach the shore by 8 a.m. During the three hours of their fight with the shark’s body the wind was taking them further and further to the Indian ocean. When they were finally ready to go back to their island they discovered that their engine had got broken and couldn’t be started even though they kept trying.

 

What did they eat?

The unlucky fishermen spent 16 days in open sea. During first 14 days, they didn’t eat anything and only drank water from a 20 liters bottle. When the bottle was empty, they were catching rain.

After 14 days they were not able to stay without food anymore. They started fishing with their net and ate raw fish touched only with a flame of a lighter.

 

Rescue finally

The October 16, 2009 was a lucky day for our lost heroes. A big ship was passing at the horizon. The crew was suspicious first since it was more that unusual to see such a small boat in such a place. Once the ship captain was sure there was no danger coming from the Socotran fishermen, he directed his ship closer to explore the situation. The fishermen told him they were Socotrans lost in the sea for 18 days with broken engine.

They were taken on board and spent another 10 days sailing to the shore of Bangladesh, which was the nearest land from the point of their rescue. But that was not end of the story. Suleiman Ahmed Essa, Ebrahim Ahmed Abdulla and Abdulwahab Qamoor spent another two months in Bangladesh since they had no passports or identity cards to be able to cross the country borders and return home. It took great efforts of the Minister of Water and Environment H.E. Abdulrahman Al-Eryani to get them back to Yemen. They finally reached Socotra on January 16, 2010.

 

A surprising call

The fellow islanders considered the three fishermen dead and prayed for them in mosques. What a sensation it was when one of the missing fishermen called his brother from the rescuing ship! It was 18 days after they had disappeared in the sea. No one at all can describe the feelings of the brother who received the call, of the fishermen’s families, of all the islanders

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