Two fishermen drowned and three have gone missing when a ship rammed their fishing vessel off the Thottapally coast around 2 a.m. on Thursday. Two fishermen on the boat were rescued and brought to the Thottapally harbour near Alappuzha by 7 a.m. All the seven on board the fishing vessel are natives of Kollam.
Kollam Collector P.G. Thomas, overseeing rescue operations at Thottapally, said that two fishermen, Xavier and Justin, were brought dead to the harbour. The bodies have been handed over to the relatives after post-mortem examinations at the Alappuzha medical college hospital.
The two fishermen who were rescued, Michael and Joseph, have been admitted to the Alappuzha medical college hospital. The Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, and local fishermen are engaged in search operations to find the missing fishermen, Santosh and Bernard of Pallithottam in Kollam city and Cletus of Puthenthura, near Chavara.
The fishing boat, Don-1, is owned by Dominic Antony from Tangasseri in Kollam city. The boat had left the Neendakara fishing harbour here on February 26 and was to have returned on Saturday. Reports reaching here said the boat capsized after being rammed by the ship. As the ship rammed the boat, those on the deck got thrown into the waters. According to the two who survived, the boat was lying anchored in a fishing ground at sea and the fishermen were engaged in casting the net when the ship hit the boat.
According to fishermen on other boats nearby, lights on the ship went out soon after the incident and it soon disappeared. They alleged that the ship was sailing much east of the usual shipping channel. The Coast Guard office in Kochi, when contacted, said efforts were on to locate the ship.
Xavier and Justin were natives of Kovilthottam in Chavara. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy called on the family of the deceased at their houses in the evening to offer his condolences. When the bodies were brought to the houses in the afternoon, Labour Minister Shibu Baby John, who is also Chavara MLA, and the Fisheries Minister K. Babu paid their last respects to the fishermen and offered their condolences.
The tragedy comes 16 days after two fishermen on a mechanised fishing boat were shot dead by the marines on the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie off the Ambalapuzha coast, near Thottapally, allegedly suspecting them to be pirates.
Labour Minister Shibu Baby John and Fisheries Minister K. Babu paying their last respects to fisherman Xavier who got drowned when a ship rammed his fishing boat.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on his arrival Kovilthottam in Chavara to pay his last respects to fisherman Xavier who got drowned when a ship rammed his fishing boat.