TN fisherman missing after trawler collides with Lankan vessel

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Express News Service

PUDUKKOTTAI: A fisherman from Kottaipattinam, who fell into the sea when the boat he was travelling in sank allegedly after colliding with a Sri Lankan vessel, is missing. Two other fishermen who were on the boat have been detained by the Sri Lankan Navy. The incident took place on Monday evening.

About 118 fishermen from Kottaipattinam went fishing on Monday. Out of these, one boat carrying three fishermen — Rajkiran (30), Suganthan (30), and Xavier (32) — were intercepted by a Sri Lankan vessel. Sources said that the fishermen were fishing close to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). The vessel collided with the boat in which it sank. Rajkiran fell into the waters, while Suganthan and Xavier were rescued and detained by the Sri Lankan Navy, it is said. Search is still on for Rajkiran, according to officials.

Condemning the incident, fishermen held a road roko in Kottaipattinam on Tuesday morning.

They alleged that the Sri Lankan Navy vessel intentionally crashed into the boat, causing it to sink, and Rajkiran who was steering the boat fell into the waters because of it. They also alleged that the fishermen were not fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

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A coast guard official confirmed the incident and said two fishermen have been detained by the Sri Lankan officials. Further investigation would be done only after the two detained fishermen are sent back to Kottaipattinam, the official added.

In a statement, the Sri Lankan Navy said that they had ‘rescued’ two fishermen aboard a sunken Indian fishing boat that poached Sri Lankan waters on Monday evening. The statement added that a search and rescue operation is still underway to find another fisherman who went missing following the incident. The statement added that the ‘one of the Indian fishing trawlers, with aggressive manoeuvres, in resistance of chase away, was on an attempt to evade from the scene making it collided with SLN Craft in operation. In the process, it ultimately descended having lost its stability as well as due to the rough sea condition.’

In January this year, the bodies of four fishermen from Ramanathapuram, who died in Sri Lankan waters, were brought to Kottaipattinam harbour.

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