Kochi: A Panama-flagged cargo vessel hit and sank a fishing boat off Beypore near Kozhikode, but was intercepted off the coast here after it continued its journey.
Coast Guard, police and mercantile marine department Thursday launched a joint investigation into the incident that took place Wednesday.
MV Izumo, owned by Tokyo-based NYK Hinode Line Ltd, is now anchored off Kochi waters. It was intercepted 10 to 12 nautical miles off Kochi late last night by Coast Guard.
The three fishermen of country boat 'Al Ameen' which sank after the collision arrived here later Thursday evening. They will be taken to identify the vessel Friday.
"The Singapore-bound vessel from Kandla carrying soyabeans did not stop after the collision and continued its journey. Within five hours, it was intercepted off Kochi by Coast Guard and asked to anchor off the city, thanks to quick response of fishermen who immediately informed Coast Guard authorities," Satish Chandran, DIG, Commander of Indian Coastguard (Kerala and Mahe), said.
The Panamian vessel has a 21-member crew. 19 of them are Chinese and one each from Myanmar and Taiwan.
Chandran told reporters at the CG headquarters at nearby Fort Kochi that the AL Ameen crew waved flags on seeing the ship approach but it was apparently not noticed, following which they jumped into the sea.
Under the impact of the collision, the boat broke into two and sank. The crew were rescued by another boat nearby. "The collision occurred about 18 nautical miles west of Beypore at around 3.50 PM yesterday," he said
Immediately, after the incident, the crew called up the Coast Guard headquarters at Beypore which then contacted the Coast Guard headquarters here. "They also took mobile shots of the vessel and passed it to the authorities, which helped confirm MV Izumo as the defaulting vessel," he said.
Following the collision, an FIR was registered at Chaliyam in Kozhikode.
Commander Chandran said four South-bound ships were found in the vicinity of the mishap. Data analysis zeroed in on MV Izumo and MV Fengai-11 as the prime suspects. But after Izumo was found to be the one involved in the incident, the other ship was allowed to leave.
Initial probe revealed collision marks on the bow of Izumo. The CG boarded the vessel to prevent any data tampering, he said, adding that the voice data recorder, track chart, ship's logbook and GPS log have been seized.
Chandran said the Maritime Rescue co-ordination centre, Mumbai and Regional operating station here analysed the Satellite Automatic Identification Data of all vessels which passed through the area where the collision took place.
The photograph taken by the crew matched the description of MV Izumo which had transited the collision position at the indicated time as per satellite data.
"The efficacy of coastal security mechanism along with the coastal chain of radar has once again proved effective to nail the defaulting vessel involved in such hit and run cases," he said.
The entire operation, including deployment, interception and arrival of defaulting vessel, was completed and taken to its logical conclusion within five hours of initial reporting of the incident, Chandran said.
The latest incident is similar to the collision involving MV Prabhu Daya and fishing boat Don 1 in which three fishermen were killed off Needakara coast on February 12 last year, he said.