The family of S. Prasobh Sugathan, the 24-year-old second officer of the Singapore flagged merchant vessel mv Prabhu Daya who was rescued from sea early this week, said someone on the merchant vessel had thrown their son overboard to erase evidence after the ship rammed a fishing boat off the Kochi coast on March 1, killing three fishermen (two fishermen are missing).
Quoting his son, the sailor's father, Sugathan, a former State government employee, told The Hindu that the “attempt to murder” occurred when the second officer was returning to his cabin at 4 a.m. after a four-hour night watch duty on March 3, two days after the vessel collided with the fishing boat.
Mr. Sugathan said anonymous persons threw a blanket over Prasobh, dazed him with a hard blow to his jaw and threw him overboard.
He survived ten hours on the rough seas till he was picked up by a Sri Lankan fishing vessel.
The fishermen later transferred him to a Sri Lankan Navy vessel.
The Navy admitted him to their hospital at Trincomalee, where he was convalescing from his injuries.
Mr. Sugathan accused the shipping company of attempting to murder his son to hide their complicity and to avoid paying compensation in the mid-sea accident, which claimed five lives.
Quoting his son, Mr. Sugathan said the ship's captain was “dismissive” about Prasobh's suggestion that somebody had forcibly thrown him overboard to kill him.
He accused the company of planting news-reports that his son had attempted to commit suicide to absolve himself of his alleged role in the shipping accident.
The State police have taken custody of the ship, which was currently anchored in Chennai port. They were yet to finalise the array of accused in the accident or determine the cause of the incident.