Panama flagged cargo ship collides with boat off TN coast, two fishermen ‘thrown out’


PTI, Oct 23, 2021, 5:56 PM IST

Representative Image

Chennai: A cargo ship collided with a fishing boat off the Tamil Nadu coast and in the impact, two fishermen, part of a crew of 17, were ‘thrown out’ and the Coast Guard rescued them on Saturday.

The collision was due to ‘negligence’ and it caused injuries to 17 fishermen besides ‘damage’ to the boat, South Asian Fishermen Fraternity, general secretary Father Churchill claimed, demanding compensation for the fishermen.

The Kanyakumari district-based SAFF chief urged the government to take steps to get appropriate compensation on par with international standards for the fishermen as well as damages for the boat. ”The Panama-flagged cargo ship Navious Venus bound for Mumbai from Singapore, did not stop after ramming into the fishing boat. It was due to sheer negligence,” he told PTI and urged authorities to seize the ship and arrest its captain.

”Such incidents continue to happen as there is no strict action. If a vehicle driver causes an accident on road he is arrested. Why this is not followed in the case of a ship? Why this indifference” he asked.

The Coast Guard, in a press release, said it received information about a mid-sea collision between a merchant vessel ‘Navious Venus’ and fishing boat ‘Shijumon.’ Two crew members of the fishing boat were ‘thrown overboard’ due to the impact of the collision, it said.

All the fishermen were rescued and provided medical assistance and early on Saturday, two of them, who were injured in the collision, were taken to Thiruvananthapuram government medical college by a medical team from CG Station Vizhinjam-Thiruvananthapuram.

Both the CG and SAFF said the fishing boat was escorted by local fishing boats and it reached the Colachel fishing harbour in Tamil Nadu with the remaining crew of 15.

”We are in the process of getting an FIR filed with the marine police,” the SAFF chief said. ”As they were tossed up due to the impact of the collision, the 15-other fishermen also suffered injuries.”

In a representation to the Directorate General of Shipping seeking legal action, the SAFF said on October 22, as many as 17 fishermen set out for deep-sea fishing in the mechanized boat ‘Shijumon’ from Colachel government fishing harbor. The fishing boat belonged to a fisherman, Rajamani from Kotilpaadu of Kanyakumari district.

While the fishing boat was around nineteen nautical miles from Colachel, the cargo ship collided with it and caused damage, resulting in injuries to fishermen two of whom were thrown out. Immediately, the master of the boat informed the Coast Guard about the collision and requested assistance, and CG personnel reached the spot immediately.

The two ‘thrown out’ and injured fishermen were K Chinnathurai and P Arulraj, aged 50 and 60 respectively, and they were taken to Thiruvananthapuram government medical college hospital for treatment. ”We kindly request your good office to take necessary and immediate legal action against the ship Navious Venus which collided with fishermen boat Shijumon and caused injury to the fishermen and heavy damage to the mechanized boat,” the representation said.

A copy of the representation was also sent to fisheries, police, and other authorities in Cochin, Chennai, and Kanyakumari urging action. Of the 17 fishermen, 15 were from Tamil Nadu and two others from West Bengal.

On February 15, 2012, two marines aboard an Italian-flagged oil tanker ‘Enrica Lexie’ allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen, hailing from Kerala and on a fishing boat, ”mistaking” them for pirates. Following remittance of Rs 10 crore compensation by Italy, the Supreme Court had in June this year directed the closure of criminal proceedings in India against two Italian marines, in connection with the killing of two fishermen off the Kerala coast.

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