What hit boat, merchant or naval ship?, SP seeks probe

Naval authorities have officially confirmed tracing the wreckage of Suvarna Tribhuja fishing boat.

Naval officials in Karwar, in response to the letter (dated May 3) from Udupi Superintendent of Police Nisha James, said the search operation was carried out from April 30 to May 2. The boat’s wreckage was found lying scattered on the sea-bed at a depth of 60 feet, 30 km off the coast of Malvan in Maharashtra.

Personnel onboard INS Nireekshak and diving experts, using Side Scan Sonar technology, had succeeded in locating the boat. Udupi MLA K Raghupathy Bhat and nine others from Udupi were also part of the search operation.

Letter to DGS

The SP has also written a letter to the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), seeking thorough investigation on whether Suvarna Thribhuja was hit by INS Kochi or merchant vessel Sea Harvest.

In January this year, after INS Kochi had reported the damage to its Sonar Dome at a depth of 6.5 meters below waterline, the needle of suspicion pointed at the crew of INS Kochi.

The naval warship got a reprieve when it was found that Sea Harvest had also sailed from Mumbai to Haldia (West Bengal) on December 15, 2018. This revelation was made in a letter by K C Arun Babu, commander staff officer (operations) at the headquarters of the naval base, Karwar on January 21, 2019, to then Udupi SP Laxman Nimbargi.

Arun Babu, in his reply, had declared that the GPS log details of Sea Harvest revealed that it was in the same area where the wreckage of Suvarna Tribhuja was discovered.

Nisha said on Wednesday that she is in constant communication with the Navy officials and the office of the Directorate General of Shipping.

“I had mentioned about Sea Harvest sailing on the same route when Suvarna Thribhuja went missing. The officials of Directorate General of Shipping had promised to respond at the earliest,’’ she said.

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