Anthony Raj is survived by his wife, sister, and four children.

He promised he would come back TN family broken by fishermans death in Kochi boat accident
news Accident Monday, June 12, 2017 - 13:39

Anthony Raj left his house in Colachel on May 25, promising his family that he will return by June 15. He was out fishing onboard Carmel Matha, a fishing vessel.

But early on Sunday morning, Anthony’s family received the worst news possible. The 55-year-old’s body had been recovered from the sea after Carmel Matha collided with a Panama flagged cargo ship, Amber L.

Anthony was sleeping when the incident happened, and couldn’t keep afloat long enough to find a rescue boat; the one vessel that could have saved him - Amber L - sailed away without stopping to help.

He was the only breadwinner of his family, and now, his family is in shock and doesn’t know how to move forward.

‘He brought us all up’

Anthony Raj is survived by his wife, sister, and four children: Selfia, Jeniba, Amal and Aaroma. And the last time that he spoke to his family was on June 9, just before he went into sea.

“He had informed us that he is going into the sea. As his children were unwell, he had promised that he will come back and take them to the hospital,” his sister, Vimala, tells TNM.

Vimala is unable to accept that her brother is no more. “He never used to sleep outside the boat. But we were told that he was sleeping outside the boat and when the ship hit the boat, he got stuck in the fishing net and was unable to swim out of it,” she says.

“By the time another boat came to rescue him, he was already unconscious and he died on the way to the hospital,” she adds.

Remembering her brother, Vimala says that he started fishing from his childhood. “He was the one who financially supported all of us and brought us up,” she recalls.

But today, the future of his children seems bleak, she says. “All the children are studying. The eldest one is in the second year of college and other three are in school. How will they all continue their studies?” she laments.

‘Not the only incident’

Around 2am on Sunday, there was a crash around 12 nautical miles from the Kochi coast. The fishing boat, Carmel Matha, that had ventured into sea on June 9 was anchored there, but suddenly, a cargo ship, Amber L collided with it. There were 14 people onboard Carmel Matha, and while 11 of them managed to swim and save themselves, three others - including Anthony Raj - did not make it to the shore.

While Amber L has been detained by the Indian Navy and brought to shore, and the crew has been booked, the fisher community says that this is not a one-off incident.

The General Secretary of Meengal Makkal Iyakkam, K Berlin, says that such incidents have been happening for years.

“These ships have different technology including GPS - they can easily see things through their equipment. Then how did they hit a boat like this?” Berlin asks.

“How can cargo ships come into areas where traditional fishermen fish? These questions need to be asked,” he adds.

Pointing a finger at the government, Berlin says, “The state and central government have not taken any action against such ships in the past. Such things should not happen again, the ship must give compensation for the losses and should be punished for their act.”



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