KOCHI: The body of yet another fisherman, who was among the nine missing following the mid-sea collision of fishing boat Oceanic with a ship off the Kochi coast on August 7, was recovered on Sunday. The officers are yet to identify the body, which is being brought to the shore in a fishing vessel. With the recovery of one body on Sunday, the total number of missing persons is now seven. On Saturday, the body of Shiju, the only Malayali missing in the fish wreck, was recovered.
Meanwhile, the officials have more or less confirmed that the erring ship in the collision was Desh Shakti, a crude tanker owned by the Shipping Corporation of India.
An examination of Desh Shakti, which is now berthed in Mangalore, by Mattancherry CI Santhosh, has revealed the paint of the fishing boat is dented on the hull of the crude tanker.
“We need to lift the fishing boat, which is lying at a depth of 75 feet, to confirm that the paint is the same. However, lifting the boat will be a costly affair,” said a source.
Body sighted 44 nautical miles from Kochi
An official release by the Southern Naval Command said the body was sighted 44 nautical miles from Kochi in a highly decomposed state. The body was recovered by INS Sutlej, a survey ship specialised in undertaking underwater search operations. Sutlej was deployed to locate the wreckage since August 9, the Naval spokesman said.
Shiju’s body was also found in the same area and was recovered and sent to fishing boat FV Munambam Harbour through fishing boat St Antony, which was in the area. “The Southern Naval Command has been undertaking an extensive and continuous operation from August 7 to locate the missing fishermen of the ill-fated fishing vessel Oceanic which was hit by an unknown merchant ship,” the spokesman said.
Out of the 14 persons on board, two were killed in the incident and three were rescued by a nearby fishing boat. The remaining nine personnel were reported missing. The Navy had deployed one warship INS Jamuna and an ALH helicopter immediately to the area for locating the wreckage and the missing fishermen.