KOCHI: Investigators from multiple agencies on Monday began inspecting the navigation records of the Panama-registered bulk carrier Amber L which collided with a fishing boat off the Kochi coast on Sunday, claiming the lives of two, perhaps three, fishermen.
Twelve personnel from the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD), Coast Guard, Immigration, Customs and the Kerala Coastal Police boarded the ship for evidence collection Monday morning, piloted to the ship which now lies anchored seven nautical miles by Cochin Port Trust boats.
The captain and crew of Amber L were interrogated.
The investigating team included Capt Shagi Abraham, Capt Suresh Nair, surveyor of MMD, Capt C K Kiran, engine and shipping surveyor of MMD, Dinik C K, immigration officer, and Jobin, deputy commandant of Coast Guard aided by personnel of the Coastal Police.
Amber L rammed the fishing boat Carmel Matha off Puthuvype near Kochi early on Sunday, killing two fishermen and destroying the boat. One fisherman was still missing while 11 others are receiving treatment in hospital.
The two people killed have been identified as Antony John, 55, alias Thambidurai from Colachel, Kanyakumari; and Rahul Das, 27, from Assam. The missing person is Moti Das, 26, also from Assam. The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard are searching for him.
Carmel Matha had sailed out of the Thoppumpady harbour on Friday, and was fishing when the cargo vessel rammed into it in the early hours of Sunday. The 14 fishermen on board, who were sleeping at the time, were thrown overboard. They struggled for more than two hours in the deep sea. All but three of them were rescued by another boat St Antony.
The captain of Amber L is a Greek national. The Coast Guard have seized the voice data recorder (VDR), voyage chart and the log book of the ship.
The cargo ship was passing through the Cochin Minicoy channel at the time of the accident. The
ship had begun its voyage from the Eilat port in Israel. The ship, active since 2000, has a tonnage of 25955, according to reports.
According to the rescued fishermen, Amber L switched off all lights on board to flee from the site but the Coast Guard and Indian Navy identified it and took it into custody.
An official press release from Navy said the NC3I system at the Joint Operations Centre (Kochi) and Remote Operating Station (ROS) of the Coast Guard having AIS and Radar capability were used to identify the merchant ship.
The merchant ship has been directed not to leave the Kochi waters till the investigation is complete. Its position is being monitored by the Coast Guard's Remote Operating Station (ROS).