An unknown merchant vessel has collided with the Indian fishing boat Oceanic, leaving three fishermen dead, two hospitalized and nine more missing.
There were 14 Indian fishermen in the fishing boat at the time. The Indian Ministry of Shipping confirmed that three of them are deceased, while two suffered injuries and have been hospitalized.
Relevant authorities launched a search and rescue mission, involving three aircraft and three Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard ships, for the remaining nine fishermen. The Ministry added that up to 40 fishing boats are also involved in voluntary search operations.
SAR operation launched off Kochi to look for 9 fishermen stranded after their boat collided with a merchant ship 75kms North West of Kochi Harbour. INS Jamuna diverted to Search Area. 1X Dornier, 1X Seaking + 1 X ALH also launched for search and rescue operation @nsitharaman pic.twitter.com/c58mbi4G1Q
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) August 7, 2018
The collision occurred some 75 kilometers off the coast of Chettuva village, Kerala, West Coast of India, in the early morning hours of August 7, the Ministry said, adding that the country’s Directorate General of Shipping launched an investigation into the incident.
After analyzing and retrieving positions of all the merchant ships that have transited the area at the time of the incident, two vessels were found to be in the closest proximity of the reported casualty and have been advised not to leave Indian waters until further orders. Additionally, the Ministry informed that a possibility of involvement of two more merchant vessels has not been ruled out at this stage.
Two teams of investigators from Kochi and Mumbai have been deployed to conduct an inspection of the suspected vessels.