It was the quick thinking on the part of the fishermen that helped the Coast Guard to identify and intercept the Panama-flagged Japanese vessel MV Izumo, which is suspected to have rammed a fishing boat off Beypore, in Kozhikode.
Three fishermen on-board the ill-fated dinghy ‘Al Ameen’, a country boat with an outboard engine, jumped into the water and were rescued by fellow fishermen on-board other boats in the area at the time. The boat was broken into pieces due to the impact of the hit, but the merchant vessel did not halt. However, the fishermen took photographs of the vessel on their mobile phones which later helped the Coast Guard in identifying the vessel.
“Though they met with an accident which put their life in danger, the fishermen displayed presence of mind,” acknowledged Coast Guard District Commander DIG T K S Chandran.
Immediately after the incident, the fishermen informed the Coast Guard station at Beypore, from where the information was passed on to District Headquarters in Kochi.
On receiving the information, data analysis began at the Remote-operating Station and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC). This was how the Coast Guard zeroed-in on MV Izumo and MV Fenghai 11 as prime suspects. “But it was the photograph taken by the fishermen which helped us to identify the vessel. They also recollected the inscription ‘NYK HINODE’ on the starboard side of the vessel. It was visible in the picture taken by them,” the DIG said.
According to him, efforts launched by security agencies to sensitise fishermen about the need for alerting the authorities about any suspicious incident on the waters, and reporting even minor mishaps had borne results.
“In this case, the fishermen’s quick thinking proved crucial and their pro-active stance helped us to intercept the vessel in just six hours,” the DIG said.