Search continues for 9 missing fishermen

Kochi: The nine fishermen who went missing yesterday off the coast of Munambam, here, have not yet been traced, a defence spokesperson said today.

“Indian Naval ship Jamuna and three Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ships — Vikram, Savitribai Phule and Abhinav — are engaged in search operations. A Naval Dornier, an ICG Dornier and an ICG helicopter are on task as well,” the spokesperson added.

Bodies of three dead fishermen have been brought to the coast and two injured fishermen were admitted to a hospital, the police said.

The mishap occurred yesterday at around 3.30 am, when a suspected merchant ship hit the fishing boat, which was 24 nautical miles off the coast. At the time, 14 fishermen were aboard. The boat had 11 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, two from West Bengal and one from Kerala.

Yesterday, the Naval Dornier spotted debris of the fishing vessel, which was later collected by a Coast Guard boat, the defence personnel added.

The Joint Operation Centre in Kochi, under the Southern Naval Command, is monitoring the entire operation.

In a similar incident, two fishermen were injured when a foreign vessel allegedly hit their fishing boat off the coast here on June 7.