New Delhi, Nov 15 (PTI) The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has initiated a series of preemptive and proactive measures to prevent loss of lives of fishermen as cyclone ‘Gaja’ intensified into a severe cyclonic storm Thursday, the Defence Ministry said. Around eight ICG ships and two Dornier aircraft were pressed into action since November 9 for issuance of advisories and warnings in local languages to fishermen at sea for their safe return to ports, it said.

The Coast Guard Remote Operating Stations have also requested fisheries authorities in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to account for all fishing boats.

“The ICG conducted series of community interaction programmes in Kanyakumari, Mandapam, Rameswaram, Cuddalore, Chennai, Nellore, Nizampatnam, Uppada and Vishakhapatnam to sensitise fishermen and coastal population for taking safety measures for the impending cyclone,” the statement said.

The actions taken by the Coast Guard are a part of the lessons learnt from cyclone ‘Ockhi’ and success in preventing loss of lives during recent cyclones ‘Luban’ and ‘Titli’.

Cyclone ‘Gaja’ is expected to cross the south Tamil Nadu coast by late Thursday evening or night, with the government machinery put on high alert in vulnerable districts in the state.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.