After a mechanised boat from Kanniyakumari carrying 14 men was damaged on January 12 in an alleged collision with a ship with a Liberian flag while at sea, the crew members sought action against the latter and compensation for the damages. According to sources, the fishermen and other crew had ventured into the sea from Colachel fishing harbour in Kanniyakumari on a mechanised fishing boat ‘Sea Queen’. “On Saturday, a merchant ship named MT Boston collided with the boat and dragged it for around five minutes. Though the boat was heavily damaged, the boat crew escaped as one of the members managed to cut the anchor,” they said.
The boat driver of ‘Sea Queen’, K Reslin Dani of Colachel, told TNIE that some of the members on board hailed from Kanniyakumari while some were from the northern states. “After we caught some fish, we anchored the boat some 69 nautical miles off Colachel on Saturday morning while some of us were storing the fish in ice boxes and cooking.
At around 12:30 pm, an oil tanker ship speeded towards our boat at an approximate speed of 13 knots and collided with it, and dragged it around for five minutes. When we realised that the boat was about to capsize, we called the ship over wireless to stop, but in vain. One of the fishermen, Marvin managed to catch the rope of the anchor and cut it off, preventing us and the boat from being dragged into the engine of the ship. Meanwhile, another boat that had been fishing near the area came to our rescue and towed the boat to Colachel harbour. We have registered a complaint with the Colachel Marine Police against the Liberian ship for damaging the boat and injuring two of our crew members, Regan from Colachel and Kamielash from UP,” Dani said.
Meenavar Orunginaippu Sangam’s secretary, Johnson, said the Liberian flagship has caused severe damage to the boat. “The master and the crew of the ship failed to provide necessary help to save the fishermen and their boat from further damage. Hereby, we request the Director General of Shipping, India to inform the authorities in Fujairah to detain the tanker and carry out an investigation against the ship and its crew. We also urge the authorities concerned to provide compensation for the loss of the fishing vessel and mental agony suffered by the crew members of Sea Queen,” he added.