Kerala: 2 fishermen killed in boat-ship collision

Two fishermen were killed when an unidentified ship collided with their boat off Alappuzha coast in the early hours on Thursday.

Alappuzha: Two fishermen were killed
and three others reported missing when an unidentified ship
collided with their boat off Alappuzha coast in the early
hours on Thursday, the second incident involving fishermen in the
Kerala coast in the last fortnight.

Two fishermen were rescued by the crew of other boats in
the sea, district authorities said.

The boat, Dwan-II, had ventured to sea from Neendakara
fishing harbour on Sunday with seven fishermen aboard.

The Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Enforcement have
launched a search to spot and identify the ship and find out
how exactly the mishap occurred, Alappuzha District Collector
Saurav Jain said.

A rescued fishermen said the boat was anchored at sea and
was hit by the ship.

The deceased were identified as Francis Justine and
Xavier, both from Kollam district. The rescued fishermen were
brought to Thottappaly fishing harbour in Alappuzha district
and rushed to hospital.

The incident comes close on the heels of killing of two
fishermen from the same area allegedly by two naval guards of
the Italian ship `Enrica Lexie` on February 15.

Michael, a fisherman who reached ashore without any
serious injuries, told reporters that their boat was hit by
the ship despite the fishermen giving it sufficient signals.

"The incident happened around 1 am when it was quite dark
in the sea. The boat was hit by the ship despite us signalling
to it about our presence. It was an oil tanker and was ill-lit
at that time", Michael said.

"The boat overturned as soon it was hit by the ship. We
escaped as we were able to remain afloat for half an hour,"
he said.

In Kochi, Coast Guard sources said the incident occurred
about 15 nautical miles off Manakkodam off Alapuzha coast
early this morning.

A Defence press release here said a massive search has
been launched by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to locate the
merchant vessel.

Four ships and a Dornier aircraft has been deployed to
trace the unknown merchant ship which hit the fishing vessel
`Don I` at sea in Alapuzha district at about 3 am today. Four
fishermen are reportedly missing and three have been rescued
by other fishing boats in the area, it said.

INS Sarvekshak from Southern Naval Command and ICGS
Savitribai Phule, which were at sea, were diverted to the area
while Coast Guard Interceptor Boats- C 144 from Kochi and C
143 from Vizhinjam also sailed out to augment search and
rescue efforts.

A Coast Guard Dornier aircraft has been launched early
this morning, while one more ship from the Southern Naval
Command would sail shortly to join the search, the release