Fishermen associations in Kanyakumari and Colachel areas in south Tamil Nadu have sought action against a ship bearing a Panama flag for colliding with an Indian fishing boat causing grievous injuries to those on the boat. Seventeen fishermen were injured when the ship collided with their fishing boat 20 nautical miles off the Colachel coast on October 22, Friday night. Two of the 17 fishermen, Arul Raj (60) and Chinnadurai (50), are said to be in a serious condition.
J Rose, one of the 17 fishermen, said that they were sleeping when the ship collided with their boat and all of them were thrown into the sea. They were rescued by other fishing boats that were present nearby. The fishermen alleged that the ship did not stop even after the collision. The ship was said to be travelling from Singapore to Mumbai.
Charles Johnson, Secretary, Meenvar Orunginaippu Sangam, has called upon the authorities to take legal action against the Panama-based ship. Speaking to IANS, Johnson said, “The Panama flagged ship which caused injury to our fishermen will reach Mumbai on October 25 according to our information. Indian authorities must not allow the ship to leave our shores until legal action is taken against them and make them pay proper compensation to our fishermen.”
The South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF) General Secretary Father Churchill also demanded stringent action against the personnel of the foreign ship and called upon the Indian authorities to take immediate action against the foreign vessel for causing grievous injuries to Indian fishermen.
The owner of the boat, Anto Siju, while speaking to IANS said that he has lodged a complaint with the Colachel marine police and demanded stringent action against the foreign vessel.
All the 17 fishermen on the boat, Sijumon 1, sustained injuries in the collision. Two of them are grievously injured and admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College in Kerala. The duo was taken there by the coast guard’s helicopter. The other 15 fishermen have been admitted to the Colachel Government hospital.