Crude oil tanker rams TN fishing vessel off the coast of Colachel

Image of an oil tanker used for representational purposes. ( Photo | AP )

The Sea Queen was dragged for some distance as the anchor rope got entangled in the propeller, claimed Capt Johnson Charles, secretary of a fishermen association.

CHENNAI: Fourteen men of a mechanised fishing vessel from Tamil Nadu had a providential escape when a speeding Liberian-flagged crude oil tanker rammed into it, about 60 nautical miles off the coast of Colachel in Kanyakumari district, extensively damaging the Indian vessel.

Police on Tuesday said the crew of the deep-sea fishing craft named Sea Queen, which lay anchored away from the Colachel harbour, was completely taken aback when the huge tanker hit and cruised without stopping.

“The Sea Queen was dragged for some distance as the anchor rope got entangled in the propeller. Sea water rapidly entered the fishing vessel and it seemed as if it would sink. But the presence of mind displayed by a crew member who severed the rope brought the needed respite in saving the men on board and the craft from sinking,” claimed Capt Johnson Charles, secretary of Meenavar Orunginaippu Sangam, a fishermen association.

Fortunately, all the 14 crew escaped from a watery grave.

Recovering from the shock, they sent an SOS and another boat that was some distance away came to their rescue and towed the damaged boat to Colachel harbour.

In his complaint to the police, skipper Reslin Dani claimed that the Liberian flagged oil tanker hit his vessel around 12.30 pm on January 14 and went without stopping.

The hull portion of the mechanised craft was completely damaged in the incident, he said and sought action on the oil tanker.

“We have preferred an online complaint with the Director General of Shipping demanding action against the tanker and detain it at the next destination,” Charles told PTI.

He claimed the fishermen would have met with a tragic fate had the anchor rope not been cut on time and added that the tanker was nearly 330 meters in length and 60 meters wide.

The Coastal Security Group (marine) police, Colachel, registered a case and are investigating..

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