Killing Fishermen in India

PRESSNOTE 17-2-2012

We extend our solidarity and love to the deceased Valentine from Moothakara(Kerala) and Pinku from Iramenthurai (Tamilnadu) and their families. We also congratulate on the immediate action taken by the Tamilnadu and Kerala Governments.
Certain facts are important to understand the situation of this killing. The boat in which 11 fishermen were operating was St. Antony Reg. No TN15 MFD 208.belongs to Fredy S/O John Bosco Poothurai, Kannyakumari District, Tamilnadu. It is a deep sea fishing boat catching sharks. These boats are operating in the entire EEZ of India. They are traditional small boats. Even GOI and the Marine Sector does not know these boats. That was why GOI in the Draft Marine Fishing Legislation that they were banned to operate beyond Territorial Waters. This is the simplicity of GOI fisheries and their infrastructures. So there is no wonder the Italian Ship ENRICA LEXIE understand such of kind of fishing in the deep sea except they are pirates. Unless GOI and its Fisheries understand and recognize such kind of fishing in India, the problem raised by this killing will not be solved.
It was on 15th February morning early morning the fishermen were killed. 11 fishermen were there in the boat, 9 were sleeping and two were awake. Without any warning the fisher men were killed by firing from the Ship. The ship has violated all the rules involved in piracy. It happened 19 nautical away from Alleppey. It was in the EEZ of India. It was not international waters. It was impossible that piracy can happen in such a context which the Ship should know. Our Marine Enforcement Police does not come into the picture even though they have a powerful vessel for operation.
What can be done?
1. This kind of deep sea fishing should be recognized and protected by GOI legally. They should be given enough security by the Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Enforcement police of State Governments.
2. If these fishermen and this kind of fishing are not protected legally, these fishermen can be fired by Coast Guard and Navy as TERRORISTS next time.
3. Internationally PIRACY should be handled legally not by the whims and fancies of the Merchant Ships.
4. A case should be filed against ENRICA LEXIE immediately for Murder.
5. Compensation should be given to the families of the bereaved, by ENRICA LEXIE.
6. Compensation should be given to all the 9 fishermen and the owner of the fishing boat for facing such an agony in the deep sea fishing for livelihood.
7. Employment should be given to the members of the family of the deceased.
8. Unless all these take place ENRICA LEXIE should not be allowed to leave the Kochi Harbour.
Thomas Kocherry,, +91 936 064 5772,