Fishing boat driver didn’t have licence

The ferry boat that sank near Fort Kochi boat jetty on Wednesday, after it was salvaged.— Photo: H. Vibhu  

Even as the State was recovering from the shock of Wednesday’s tragic boat accident in Fort Kochi, it has emerged that Shiju of Kannamaly, who was steering the fishing boat that rammed the Vypeen-Fort Kochi ferry did not possess a licence.

The srank (driver) reportedly got out of the vessel as it refuelled near the accident site, the Harbour police said. Shiju has been charged under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and Section 280 (rash navigation of a vessel), both of which attract imprisonment and fine, the police added.

Interestingly, the date of manufacture of the ill-fated ferry is missing from records of government departments, including that of Ports Department. Even Kochi Corporation, which permitted the owner to operate the vessel, is in the dark about its age.

Strong waves

“The fishing boat’s sword-like design at the front is such that it can venture into the high seas cutting through strong waves. This impeded the driver’s view. The accident could have been averted if there was a helmsman (amarakarran) who sits at the front edge of the vessel and guided the driver of obstacles if any and the course to take,” officials said.

Mandatory training

To prevent such accidents, Department of Ports will insist on mandatory training in safe navigation for drivers of fishing vessels as well, said the department’s registration authority, who inspects the fitness of boats and grants licence, K.R. Vinod.

Training centres in Neendakara and Kodungalloor will impart four-day practical and theory training to boat drivers.

“We will also insist on drivers attending a day-long class every year, at a meeting of experts and stakeholders in fisheries and related sectors that will be convened in a week. The possibility of scrapping vessels aged 25 years or more too will be probed.”

Mr. Vinod added that the department has mooted mobile teams for frequent inspections on tourist and other passenger vessels.

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Printable version | Oct 10, 2021 4:37:02 AM |

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