Chinese national Ye Lei, Second Officer of the Panama-flagged cargo vessel Izumo that is suspected to have rammed and sunk a fishing dinghy off Beypore on Wednesday, was brought ashore by the police on Friday evening.

A team of officials, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Kozhikode South, K.R. Premachandran, interrogated Mr. Ye and recorded his arrest late evening on Friday. Police sources said the arrest was recorded after confirming that Mr. Ye was in-charge of the ship at the time of the accident.

The ship allegedly rammed ‘Al-Ameen’ 18 nautical miles off Beypore, forcing all three fishermen on it to jump overboard. The boat broke into two and sank.

The Coast Guard intercepted the vessel and escorted it to Kochi.

On Friday, a team of police and Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) officials boarded the ship, detained nearly seven nautical miles off the Kochi port along with witnesses (fishermen in the boat, Sheherban, who saved the victims of collision from the sea) who confirmed the vessel as the one that was involved in the accident.

The Chinese master of the ship Huan Jin Bao was also quizzed by officials in the morning. By Friday noon, the Coast Guard District Headquarters No. 4 in Fort Kochi, which apprehended and mounted a watch on the vessel, procured ‘boarding clearance certificate’ (indicating everything on the ship is intact) from the master and handed over the ship’s personnel, under detention, to the police.

Captain Santosh Kumar Darokar, MMD’s nautical surveyor, examined the navigation and GPS logs of the ship besides its bulbous bow for collision marks and scratches. When questioned, the ship’s master denied knowledge of involvement in any collision. MMD officials will continue their investigation on Saturday. Decrypting the data card from the ‘voyage data recorder’ (VDR) will also be done.

The Beypore Coastal Police Station had registered a case against the ship under Sections 280 (rash navigation of vessel), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the Indian Penal Code.

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