More than 40 mechanised boats worth about Rs 30 crores were gutted when a massive fire broke out in the fishing harbor near Visakhapatnam Port early on November 20th, police said. The fire erupted in one of the boats berthed at a jetty around midnight, triggering in an explosion of its diesel engine. Soon, the fire spread to adjacent boats and the entire Viskakapatnam fishing harbor was engulfed in the blaze according to local media reports..
A group of fishermen present at the harbor raised an alarm and alerted the police. “Soon after coming to know about the fire mishap, the police rushed there along with half a dozen fire tenders, to extinguish the fire. Around 40 boats were reduced to ashes local police was quoted by Media reports..
While the fire has been successfully brought under control, the cause is yet to be ascertained. “No casualties or injuries were reported in the incident. The Visakhapatnam police registered a case of accident and are investigating the case.
Local fishermen did not rule out foul play, suspecting that unknown individuals might have intentionally set the boats on fire. “All the fishing boats, which had gone into the sea for fishing three days ago, returned to the harbor on November 19th. Even before the unloading stock, the fire mishap took place according to local fisherman.
Each boat was holding fish worth about Rs 5 lakh and it would have been sold through auction during the course of the day. “The fire broke out all of sudden in one of the boats and it spread to the adjacent boats within minutes. The heavy sea breeze added to the intensity of flames
Local fishermen have put the loss to around Rs 30 crore. “Luckily, all the fishermen disembarked from the boats by night to go back to their houses. So, there are no casualties. But they lost their livelihood due to complete gutting of boats, nets and fish,”Janakiram said.
Expressing shock over the incident at Visakhapatnam fishing harbor, chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy directed that the authorities conduct an in-depth inquiry into the cause of accident. He asked fisheries minister SeediriAppala Raju to visit the spot to get the first-hand information. “The chief minister said the government would stand by the fishermen who lost their livelihood and directed that the authorities extend all possible assistance to them,” an official release from the chief minister’s office said.