This is in wake of the report of recent collision of a Tanker with a fishing boat off Kochi, India. Mariners have always been the soft targets, and Indian media has proved it yet again.
Majority of newspapers and media houses have reported this incident keeping the Merchant Vessel as the culprit, without actually going into the incident report which clearly states that investigation is under progress and even the vessel has not been identified yet. Media has started getting into the shoes of the judiciary, these self proclaimed judges have a very swift justice system.
Quote from The New Indian Express ( Dated 07th Aug) states ” At least three fishermen were killed and nine persons went missing as an unknown vessel rammed a fishing boat off Kochi coast around 3.30 am on Tuesday” The report hints as if the Merchant Vessel has intentionally hit the fishing the boat. Furthur “According to sources the workers were resting in the boat after fishing when the ship rammed the boat.” It is well understood as per international laws, to which India is a signatory, every vessel when it is not involved in fishing activity shall be considered as a normal power driven vessel, and hence there must be vigilant watch keeping onboard the fishing boat too after the fishermen have completed the fishing activity, rather than sleeping in the mid sea leaving the boat on its own.
Fishing boats off Kochi as has been my personal experience while navigating along the Indian coasts, are completely void of rules and regulations, many a times you can find wooden fishing boats during night, without lights. A wooden fishing boat is one of worst reflectors for our Marine Radars and without any source of light it is almost impossible to detect any target at sea during night. How can someone expect a navigator to identify and take action when you cannot even detect the target.
Accountability and responsibility must be shared, standards of journalism need serious improvement, reporting of incidents must not only be driven by sentiments. The media declared culprits may not be the real culprits as has been found in many cases, after the proper investigation and court hearings, but it in matter of hours it maligns the image, which takes years to build.