DUBAI: A 47-year-old Indian fisherman has been shot dead on board a vessel during an armed robbery by pirates near Bahrain's sea border.
Thomas Glattus Soosai was shot in the abdomen when pirates boarded the Bahraini ship, 10 nautical miles northwest of Bahrain's sea border, in an area known as Alrkaa, authorities said.
The pirates looted the vessel before leaving Soosai and his six crew mates adrift at sea last Wednesday.
The vessel was later found floating three nautical miles east of Shaikh Khalifa Port by the coastguard, but Soosai had already died by then.
"Four pirates were involved in the robbery and an investigation has been launched into the matter," Coastguard Commander Commodore Ala Abdulla Sayadi was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily news.
"However, prosecutors were unable to question the crew members as they were in deep shock," he said.
"The incident took place at around 4.30pm when they stopped the engine to throw their fishing nets into the water," Jassim Al Jeran, President of Bahrain's Fishermen Protection Society said.
"They saw another boat coming towards them, but had no idea of its purpose and concentrated on their work," Jeran said.
"The pirates came closer to the dhow in a 25-foot boat and asked them to hand over everything they had," he said.
"One of the fishermen started the engine and tried to move the dhow slowly, but the pirates gave them a warning and then started shooting in the air," Jeran said.
"Later they jumped into the dhow and shot one of the fishermen when they refused to hand over their belongings.
They took everything - money, mobile phones, fish from the dhow - and left," he said.
Soosai was was the sole breadwinner for his family- wife and three sons- residing in a village in Tamil Nadu.
Efforts are now on in Bahrain to repatriate Soosai's body to India.
"He was always far from home working in different countries and taking care of his family," his roommate Sahayyudin Ajith said.
"He was set to go home next week and was hopeful of saving some money from this last trip of his to help his oldest son get a job. The family has been told he has had an accident, but not yet about his death," he said.
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