Italian ship fires at boat, 2 Indians feared dead

Italian ship fires at boat, 2 Indians feared dead

Two Indian fishermen were feared killed when security guards of an Italian merchant navy ship fired at their mechanised trawler fishing in Arabian Sea off Kerala coast around 4:30 pm on Wednesday.

According to office bearers of the Mechanised Boat Owners Association of Kerala, the boat “St. Antony” was from Kollam in Kerala.

While one of the dead fishermen is a native of Muddakkal in Kollam, the other hails from Kaliyakkavila in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. According to the association the mishap occurred around 40 nautical miles off Thottappally coast in Alappuzha district. The boat has since returned to Kerala.

Reacting to the incident, the Navy said the security personnel fired at the fishermen mistaking them for pirates. The Italian vessel identified as “Enrica Lexie” has reported the incident to Indian authorities, the Navy said in a press release.

Following the mishap, the Coast Guard launched two boats “CGS Samar” and “CGS Lakshmi Bai” and an aircraft to pursue the Italian ship.

Coast Guard aircraft has since located the ship and has asked the vessel to come to anchorage off Kochi for detailed investigation. Warship “INS Kabra” from Southern Naval Command has also been put to sea for the operation, the release added.