Kochi, Aug 07: Three fishermen were killed, two rescued and nine missing when a ship hit a fishing boat off Kerala coast in the wee hours of Tuesday.
The boat, Oceanic from Munambam in Kochi, was hit by Indian oil tanker mv Deshashakthi, which was enroute to Basra in Iraq from Chennai.
Boat driver Edwin of Colachel and Naren Sarkar of West Bengal were the two boat survivors. They have been admitted to Ernakulam General Hospital and are said to have consumed diesel-laced water.
The bodies of Yuganathan (45), Manakudy (50) and Yakub (57) of Colachel in Tamil Nadu were brought ashore to Kochi.
The fishermen were in deep sleep when the ship hit the boat around 3.30 am. In the impact of the accident, the fishermen were thrown into the waters and the survivors remained afloat for nearly four hours.
Distress signals were sent out and boats around rushed to rescue them. The survivors remained afloat for about four hours until a nearby boat came to their rescue. They joined the Navy and Coast Guard which rushed for rescue operations.
Of those missing, seven were from Colachel and one each from Kerala and West Bengal.
The Navy intercepted the ship involved in the accident.
Kerala Government has sought the help of maritime authorities in Mumbai to bring the ship to Kochi.
Incidents of ship hits have been on the rise. It was in early July that a merchant vessel rammed a fishing boat off Kochi. The incident happened around 20 nautical miles off the Munambam harbour.