Sri Lankan fishermen rescue crew of Indian sailing vessel

Sri Lankan fishermen rescue crew of Indian sailing vessel

October 21, 2017   01:56 am


Sri Lankan fishermen on Friday rescued all the seven crew members of an Indian sailing vessel which had been missing after leaving the Tuticorin port on October 14 bound for the Maldives.

Sri Lankan fishermen rescued them 65 nautical miles off the Galle coast in Sri Lanka. A Sri Lankan navy vessel was deployed to bring the crew ashore.

The 250 tonne sailing vessel called MSV Maria Robert Irudhya Vijay was loaded with 50 tonne of fertilisers and 17 tonne of vegetables.

Ranjith Benedict is the master of the vessel. Other crew members have been identified as Johnson Pushparaj, Anthony Cruz, Raja Henry, Jesu Subash Chandrabose, Anto Mudiappan and Brightwin Romanace, all hailing from Fatima Nagar in Tuticorin.

The vessel is owned by Roshini Amalammal from Tuticorin. The crew were in contact with vessel owner till October 14 night while sailing southwest of Kanyakumari. There had been no communication from them since then.

The vessel was supposed to reach the Maldives on October 17. But there was no communication from crew members. The vessel owner contacted agents in the Maldives and intimated the Maldives National Defence Force. The Indian Coast Guard at Tuticorin station was also informed.

On Friday, the owner of the sailing vessel and the family members of the crew submitted a petition to the Tuticorin district administration seeking the support of the central government in tracing them. “We have informed both Indian Coast Guard and the Maldives naval agencies. We were told that a ship has been deployed for tracing the missing vessel,” said Amalammal.

Later, it was learnt that Sri Lankan fishermen had rescued them. A Sri Lankan navy spokesman told TOI that the fishermen found them 65 nautical miles off the Galle coast around 11am on Friday. “As of now we don’t know anything about the vessel. A Sri Lankan navy vessel has been despatched to bring them to the shore. They will be handed over to Indian embassy upon their arrival here”, the spokesperson said.

It could be noted that in December 15, 2014 a sailing vessel disappeared near the Andaman Nicobar Islands. All the crew members, hailing from Tuticorin, have been missing till date.

Sailing vessel operators rue that lack of communication is the major hurdle they face in high seas. Unlike ships which are built with satellite communication, the sailing vessels have no communication facility except a wireless set. The vessel which goes off the communication network in India should patch up once she reaches the destined country communication network.

Source: Times of India


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