After Action Hero Biju, Malayalam star Nivin Pauly has announced his next production. Titled Kairali, the film will be based on the disappearance of MV Kairali, a ship owned by the Kerala Shipping Corporation (KSC).
The Kairali set sail from Margoa on 30th June, 1979, under Captain Mariyadas Joseph. The bulk carrier had 49 crew members and over 20,000 tonnes of iron ore. It was on its way to Rostock, Germany, but the ship which left the port never reached its destination.
The ship was supposed to stop at Djibouti (Africa) for refueling on July 8, but never showed up. According to reports, the KSC remained in contact with the ship until July 3 but did not receive any communication after that. They received the communication from Djibouti on July 11.
Much like the sensational disappearance of the MH370 flight in our times, the vanishing of the MV Kairali caused quite a stir back in those days. Though the KSC did not receive communication from the ship after the first three days, it did not inform the relatives of its crew members about the ship's disappearance.
It was only on the July 15 that the Kerala press reported that the ship had gone missing. The Indian navy came into the picture from the 16th, but a lot of valuable time had been wasted.
Some of the relatives of the crew alleged that the Kairali had a faulty radar and that the Captain was reluctant to sail the ship. However, he was forced to do so by the KSC which said it could not wait until the radar was repaired.
The navy's search operations did not yield any results and they eventually gave up on the ship.
Other allegations made at the time include overloading of cargo by the KSC. Since the KSC had insured the ship and received over Rs 6 crore from the insurance company, there were rumours that this was an insurance scam, too.
A pirate attack which resulted in the death of the crew and the scuttling of the ship has also been considered.
However, the most likely explanation is that it was bad weather conditions which spelled disaster for the ship. The ship had set sail during the monsoon season and was carrying iron ore, which is considered to be hazardous cargo.
An elaborate blog by Joseph Babu, who claims to be a relative of one of the crew members, offers many more (unverified) details about the ship and what happened in the days following the news that it had disappeared.
Which of these theories about the MV Kairali will the Nivin Pauly film go for? We're still at sea.