Ship hits fishing boat off Kochi; 3 dead, 9 missing

V Sajeev Kumar/ P Manoj Kochi/Mumbai | Updated on August 07, 2018 Published on August 07, 2018

At least three fishermen were killed while nine are missing from a collision involving a merchant vessel and a fishing boat in the early hours of Tuesday on the international shipping route off Kochi.

The incident took place around 3.30 am when the fishing boat Oceanic from the Munambam fishing harbour was hit by an unidentified vessel, about 27 nautical miles away.

Ship unidentified

Indian maritime authorities were unable to confirm which among the four merchant vessels present in the area were responsible for the incident. One of the ships was the Indian-registered oil tanker mv Desh Shakti owned by State-run Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), which was on its way to Basra in Iraq. The other three were foreign ships, whose identity are yet to be confirmed by the authorities.

“Only an inquiry will reveal which ship was responsible for the incident,” an official at the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), India’s maritime regulator, told BusinessLine.

Of the 14 men aboard, 11 were from Tamil Nadu, two from West Bengal and one from Kerala. Navy and Coast Guard vessels and other fishing boats are carrying out search operations for the nine missing fisherman.

Case registered

According to police, all the persons on board, except one, was sleeping when the mishap occurred happened. The ship hit the boat from behind, breaking it into two and throwing all the fishermen into the sea. The ship later started its voyage without undertaking any rescue operations, the rescued fishermen told the police.

The Coastal Police have registered a case for causing death by negligence, for rash navigation of vessel and under other relevant sections.

Cochin Port Trust officials told BusinessLine that there is no confirmation that the SCI ship was involved in the incident, which happened beyond India’s territorial waters.

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Published on August 07, 2018
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