Six Kasimedu fishermen were adrift at sea for over 7 hours

A few minutes after 10.30 p.m. on Saturday, when a group of fishermen from Kasimedu were checking on their net at sea, a ship leaving Chennai Port suddenly loomed over them and hit their boat.

“We were thrown into the sea in the dark along with our boat, which overturned and was damaged. Since we could not turn it over again, one by one we managed to get atop the boat and stayed there, waiting for light. As soon as we saw the first rays of the sun, we started waving our clothes hoping to get attention,” said D. Gopinath, the driver of the boat.

Along with Gopinath, Logesh (22), Suresh (37), Baba Rao (29), Josaiah (37) and Abdar Ali (43) were saved by a passing boat on Sunday morning.

The men had left Kasimedu fishing harbour at 7 a.m. on Saturday, had their dinner around 9 p.m., and taken a short break when the ship hit them, despite their flashing warning signals.

This is not the first instance of ships hitting fishing boats off Chennai coast. There were two such instances last year.

In the first incident, in March, a fisherman, T. Anandan, died, and in the second incident, three men were injured when their boat was hit.

M.D. Dayalan of Indian Fishermen Association said many such incidents went unnoticed as the police do not register complaints most often.

“They say it is difficult to search for an unnamed ship. But when a ship as tall as the LIC building looms over us at night, it is impossible to see its name. We only think of saving our lives then. Last month, there was a similar incident in Pulicat but the police did not register the complaint,” he said.

Mr. Dayalan said the State government must direct police stations to register complaints in such cases.

The N4 Fishing Harbour police station registered a complaint on Saturday’s incident.

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