Rallying to the rescue of fishermen

Updated: 2013-10-11 07:41

By Peng Yining in Hainan and He Na, Jiang Xueqing and Wu Wencong in Beijing (China Daily)

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Destructive power

Lin Dasheng, 30, a fisherman from Qiongtou village in Xiamen, Fujian province, was also affected by the typhoon.

"Although our village is far from the South China Sea where the boats sank, my attention is still closely focused on the rescue efforts there," Lin said.

"The more sunken boats I heard about, the stronger my desire to quit the profession became. My parents hope I will. They told me they can't eat or sleep well when I am out fishing," he said.

According to Lin, in recent years typhoons, the largest threat to fishermen, have become more frequent and their destructive power has increased.

"As the circumstances have changed, our awareness of typhoons has also risen, especially after the painful lesson of 1999 when a typhoon hit Xiamen directly. The landfall wrought huge damage in the coastal villages and many parts of Xiamen's downtown area were submerged," he said.

"Typhoon warnings and the safety of fishermen drew great attention to local government after the disaster. But, all the boats have to be checked and insured every year, so the local government utilizes various channels, including village committees and the border police, to release timely information and warnings," he added.

Every fishing boat is equipped with a waterproof mobile phone fitted with a GPS receiver, which enables rescue staff to quickly pinpoint the exact location of every boat in the event of an emergency.

"The GPS phone is very helpful. One of our villagers had a heart attack out at sea, but he was saved with the help of the phone," said Lin.

In addition, the local government organized safety training for many of the fishermen, and safety pamphlets are issued to every boat.

"Nothing is more precious than life. If the fishermen in the South China Sea area can return to port right after they receive a typhoon warning and nothing is left to chance, then more of them may have a chance of staying alive," Lin said.

Contact the writer at pengyining@chinadaily.com.cn

Zhang Hao contributed to this story.