Probe confirms 'MV Prabhu Daya' had hit unidentifi

Chennai: Preliminary probe by officials on Tuesday "confirmed" that Singapore-flagged vessel 'MV Prabhu Daya' had hit a boat on March 1 off the Kerala coast, but it was yet to be established whether the foreign ship had collided with Indian fishing boat 'Don-1' whose three fishermen died in the mishap.

As for physical proof, the team of officials found some "marks" on the port side (left side of the ship) and its rear confirming that it had hit a boat, official sources said.

Officials, who inspected the vessel now anchored off Chennai port, checked the charts, its electronic navigation systems and recorded statements of the captain, helmsman (one who steers the ship) and the crew, they said.

"The investigations reveal that one second officer, who was on watch happened to notice the incident and presumed that the boats cleared off and informed the captain in the middle of the night on March 1. The incident has happened between 0045 and 0055 hours," they said.

Meanwhile, Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) of a nearby port had recorded three ships in the area and spotted MV Prabhu Daya, "exactly in that position" (where the incident was said to have happened by fishermen) between 0045 and 0055 hours," they said.

Data obtained by computer-based navigation information system called Electronic Chart Display and Information System too confirmed that the vessel was "very much" in the area.

The investigations will continue tomorrow, they added.

The probe team had five officials - three Maritime Mercantile Department (MMD) - one each from Chennai, Mumbai and New Mangalore, and an official each from Coast Guard and Navy.

MV Prabhu Daya, which had left Goa for China via Trincomalee in Sri Lanka and Singapore with its consignment of iron ore, arrived here last night after she was asked by the Directorate General of Shipping to report to the nearest Indian port to assist in the probe into the March 1 incident.

Two fishermen were killed in the incident and three others went missing. The body of another fisherman was recovered later from the boat wreckage.