Berhampur: Five days on the sea with little food and water, a group of 38 fishermen covered around 600 nautical miles on their boat to reach their hometown in Odisha from Chennai, officials here said.
The migrants, who had gone to Chennai to work for a fish merchant, were stranded in the southern metropolis following the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to contain spread of coronavirus.
“We purchased a wooden boat with a dual engine and left Chennai on April 20. After undertaking a five-day long journey, we reached Ganjam on Saturday evening,” one of the fishermen said.
Asked what prompted them to leave Chennai amid the shutdown, another fisherman said, “You know that the number of coronavirus cases has been on the rise in Tamil Nadu. That apart, we would go hungry on some days. Under those circumstances, we were compelled to take the risk.”
Cooped up in the boat, the 38 fishermen reached Patisonapur coast near Chikiti in Ganjam.
All of them were given food at the local marine police station and then placed under institutional quarantine for 14 days, Chikiti Tehsildar Haraprasad Bhoi said.
District Collector Vijay Amrut Kulange said the swab samples of all the 38 have been collected and sent for COVID-19 test.
Last week, another batch of 27 fishermen had set sail for Odisha from Chennai, but they were detained by security personnel near Ichhapuram in Andhra Pradesh.
Officials in the neighbouring state have quarantined all 27 of them.