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Hong Kong based vessel which rammed a fishing boat off Kollam coast may be ordered to back in Kochi Port for investigation

The cargo ship that hit a fishing boat off the Kerala coast was "most likely" a Hong Kong-registered vessel and it would be asked to berth at a nearby Indian port in the next few days for further investigation, the Navy said today.

The ship is now in international waters, about 400 nautical miles away from Kochi, a Navy spokesperson said, a day after the incident which left the Colachel based boat Arogya Annam totally damaged. Six fishermen on board were, however, rescued by nearby boats.

"The ship involved has been identified most likely to be Ksl Ang Yang, registered at Hong Kong, and it is heading southward towards the Sri Lankan coast," the spokesperson said.

As the ship is now much beyond the range of Dornier aircraft, long-range surveillance aircraft P8I would be used to divert it to the Indian coast. Since this involved flying over the Sri Lankan air space, permission of the neighbouring country had been obtained, the spokesperson added.

Besides, a naval ship from Port Blair was being deployed to move it to the Sri Lanka coast if the cargo vessel was reluctant to turn back towards Kochi. If the ship failed to cooperate, it would have to be handled as a "legal case involving the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)", the spokesperson said. 

The fishing boat was hit by the cargo vessel, about 40 nautical miles from Kollam, in international waters, yesterday. All the six fishermen, one Keralite and five from Tamil Nadu, on board the boat were rescued by other boats nearby and brought to the shore safely. The boat involved in the incident has also been brought to the Neendakara fishing harbour in Kollam district.

The Coastal police said the incident occurred around noon on August 26. The coast guard which reported the incident after two hours said the boat which left Neendakara fishing harbor was rammed by the cargo vessel. The boat belonged to fishermen of Colachel in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The coastguard tracked the cargo vessel about 40 nautical miles off the Vizhinjam port. Coastguard did not order the ship to stop since it was not sure whether it was the same ship that was involved in ramming the fishing boat. But its interceptor boat and Dornier aircraft are monitoring the movement of the ship.

The cargo vessel left the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in Iran on August 20 and was moving towards Singapore Port which the incident took place in the international waters.

A naval spokesperson said initially the navy was monitoring the movement of four ships sailing in the region. Since the incident took place in the international shipping lane beyond the Indian territorial waters, navy had to act cautiously in dealing with the cargo vessel. Navy conducted motion parameter assessment by retracing their direction with respect to time, direction and speed.


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