48 fishers of boat that collided with sunken vessel rescued off Vypeen

Debris of two vessels near Kochi shipping channel poses threat to boats

Forty-eight fishers aboard the fishing boat ‘St. Antony’ were rescued after it collided with a fishing vessel that had sunk earlier off the coast of Vypeen, close to the Kochi shipping channel.

The collision took place around 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday, said a spokesman for the traditional fishers’ association, Paramparagatha Matsya Thozhilali Union, at Vypeen. P.V. Jayan of the union said that fishers on boats nearby came to the rescue of those on the boat. Their timely intervention helped save the lives of the 48 fishers, he said.

According to fishers, two boats had sunk off the coast of Vypeen and the debris poses hindrance to the movement of fishing boats, especially during low tide. One of these boats, Poornasree, had sunk in the third week of May, 2021 and another boat, Ashiqmon, on August 31 night, said Charles George of Matysa Thozhilali Aikya Vedhi, a union of traditional fishers.

Fishers’ unions have appealed to Cochin Port Trust to help retrieve the debris of the boats to avoid such accidents.

K.N. Unnikrishnnan, Vypeen MLA, has written to Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian pointing out that the accident in the early hours of Wednesday occurred after the fishing boat ran into the debris. While the primary responsibility of removing the remains of a sunken boat remained with the boat owner, institutions like the Cochin Port Trust should be liable to pay compensation to the affected fishers for its failure to ensure that the debris was removed in a timely manner, he said.

Group insurance

Mr. Unnikrishnan also said that since the premium for insurance was high, boat owners were reluctant to insure their vessels and that the Fisheries Department should make sure that boat owners and workers received group insurance cover. The MLA said that unless the debris of sunken boats was removed or if proper signages were not established to mark the debris spots, more accidents were likely in the area.

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