Bizarre drama on foreign fishing trawler flying the Indian flag

In a bizarre incident in the Bay of Bengal, the Coast Guard intercepted a foreign fishing trawler flying the Indian flag, and rescued the Master, who was held captive by the crew. By the time the Coast Guard ship reached the vessel, the crew had disembarked into a country boat.

The Eastern Region Coast Guard, headquartered in Chennai, said a total of 16 ship hands were apprehended and handed over to the police at the nearest port, Paradeep, on Tuesday. The ship too, has been berthed at the port since it did not have the requisite number of personnel to go out to sea.

“The drama has been playing for about four days now. We tasked one of our ships once we received an alarm,” a senior Coast Guard officer said.

The Madala Marina, a foreign vessel leased out and named after its Indian owner, was shipping deep in the Bay of Bengal when the crew raised the banner of revolt on July 2. The Master was allegedly very tough with the crew and expected them to work long hours. This incensed a few, who plotted revenge. The crew included nine Indians and seven Thai citizens.

Attacked

Four days ago, they decided to take the law into their own hands. They attacked the Master. However, in the melee, the Master triggered the alarm, which was picked up by the Coast Guard. The Master was reportedly tied up and held captive in his room.

The Coast Guard's Dorniers and Offshore Patrol Vessels began a general search of the area from where the alarm emanated. Once the ship was spotted, the Coast Guard asked the crew to surrender or face consequences. A short while later, the Coast Guard officials realised that the crew had disembarked.

An act of desperation

They approached the crew and told them that their act was a very serious crime, and that international maritime law had laid down stringent punishment. The crew reportedly told them that they had done so out of desperation.

The Coast Guard and the police are conducting further investigations.

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