Bodies of 2 Colachel fishermen killed in boat-ship collision, brought back, buried

The Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard ships and helicopters have been pressed into action to locate and rescue nine fishermen who are still missing following the collision

Bodies of two fishermen who were killed in a mid-sea collision of a mechanized fishing boat and a merchant vessel off Mangaluru coast in the early hours of Tuesday, were brought to Colachel, their native place, on Thursday and buried.

After a Holy Mass conducted in the local church around 11 a.m., the bodies of Alexander, 38, of Harbour Road, Colachel, and his father-in-law Dasan were buried. Officials from the Department of Fisheries also participated in the funeral of the deceased fishermen and condoled with their families.

When the victims, along with 12 other fishermen were fishing 55 nautical miles off Mangaluru coast on Tuesday around 2.30 a.m. in the mechanized boat belonging to Jafar of Veppur in Kozhikode district in Kerala, a Singapore merchant vessel rammed the fishing boat. It drowned immediately due to the impact.

While the ship crew managed to rescue fishermen Velmurugan of Ramanathapuram and Sunil Das of West Bengal alive, they could only retrieve the bodies of three others including that of Alexander and Dasan. The third victim was identified as Manik Das of West Bengal.

In a similar mishap on August 7, 2018 off Munambam coast in Kerala, seven fishermen from Kanniyakumari district – 2 from Mulloorthurai and 5 from nearby Ramanthurai — were killed while two others including one from West Bengal were grievously injured.

Over the past eight years, around 40 fishermen from Kanniyakumari district have either been killed or gone missing in the high-seas in collisions between mechanized boats and ships. Also, Cyclone Ockhi killed 164 fishermen in December 2017 and the number continues to grow.

Following the latest mishap, the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard ships and helicopters have been pressed into action to locate and rescue the nine missing fishermen including Denson of Manappad in Thoothukudi district. Wife of the missing fisherman, D. Rani, along with her two daughters, submitted a petition to Thoothukudi District Collector K. Senthil Raj on Thursday, seeking his intervention to expedite the rescue operation.

“Since catches were very poor in Manappad area, my husband moved to Kerala from where he was going fishing in the mechanized boat. The Collector should take up our case with the State governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka to expedite the search operation,” said Ms. Rani after submitting the petition.

Meanwhile, Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi has sent an e-mail to the Union Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry to take all necessary steps to rescue the nine missing fishermen.

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