Italian ship crew thwart police probe

Italian ship crew thwart police probe

Two days after being accused of shooting down two Indian fishermen in cold blood, the Italian oil tanker M V Enrica Lexie’s naval crew continued to resist arrest and Italian consulate officials vehemently disagreed with the Kerala police’s notice which alleged that the fishing vessel was fired at without any provocation.

While the evasive action on the part of the ship’s Italian navy crewmen, who fired at and killed the Indian fishermen more than 14 nautical miles off the Kochi coast on Wednesday evening, forced the Centre to order a probe, the ship’s crew on Friday refused to comply with the state police’s notice which was served on the oil tanker’s captain. The Kerala police’s move to arrest the culprits also came to nought.

In the notice, the Kerala police demanded that Indian securioty personnel be allowed to examine the ship’s documents and that the crew members brought on shore to Kochi for questioning. After high drama on the Arabian sea, the Enrica Lexie was brought to the Kochi harbour on Thursday when the Directorate-General of Shipping ordered an investigation.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an Indian Air Force event, Defence Minister A K Antony called for “punishing” the “guilty” crew, adding that “what had happened was against the law and the norms of shipping.”

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