Ship cleared to resume voyage

The Mercantile Marine Department (MMD), which probed the mid-sea collision in which the fishing dinghy Al-Ameen sank off Beypore last week, has concluded that Panamanian vessel m.v. Izumo was involved in the incident.

Izumo, detained off Kochi pending investigation, was cleared on Wednesday by all agencies to resume voyage. Clearance from the Directorate-General of Shipping was awaited. Izumo, which is owned by NYK Hinode Line Ltd, Tokyo, was going to Singapore from the Kandla port, carrying soyabean, when it rammed the fishing vessel.

Sources in the MMD confirmed to The Hindu that they were able to “conclusively” demonstrate the ship’s role in the incident. “There is ample physical evidence, primarily scratches on its bulbous bow, which puts it in the dock. Technical evidence, however, indicates that at the time of the accident, at 3.50 p.m., the ship was just about 12 nautical miles off the Beypore coast,” said an officer.

The MMD verified the ship’s navigation log details and deciphered its voyage data recorder (VDR) to confirm its position. It also questioned captain Huang Jin Bao and second officer Ye Lei, both Chinese nationals, to corroborate evidence. All that remains now is to get custody of the mobile on which the rescued fishermen clicked a few snaps of the vessel soon after the incident. “As corroborative evidence, it will add muscle to the case,” an MMD official said.

Captain Santosh Kumar Darokar, a nautical surveyor from Mangalore, conducted the investigation. He is yet to submit the report to the Directorate-General of Shipping.

K.R. Premachandran, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Kozhikode City (South), who led the police probe, arrested Mr. Lei, who was released on bail. “The shipping agents, Shantilal Shipping, have agreed to produce him before the court once the case comes up for hearing,” he told The Hindu.

The Coastal Police of Beypore launched 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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