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Italian ship kills two Indian fishermen

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Merchant ship Enrica Lexie is seen anchored off Kochi harbour for investigation by Indian law enforement agencies. ICGS Lakshmibhai is also seen in the picture

Australia’s Herald Sun reported:

The two Indian fishermen were killed after they were mistaken for pirates, about 14 nautical miles off Alappuzha in Kerala.

India summoned the Italian envoy in an attempt to ensure the cargo vessel’s captain cooperated with Indian police.

IBN Live had a more detailed report:

In fact Enrica didn’t report the shooting incident to maritime authorities for almost three hours. Sources say that the Incident happened at 5 pm on Wednesday but Enrica told the Coast Guard only around 7 pm. Sources add that Enrica continued for 70 kms on its voyage to Egypt without reporting incident.

“It has been reported to this Directorate that the Italian flagged MV Enrica Lexie, resorted to firing on an Indian fishing vessel in position 09 20N 075 52E (heading 345 speed 14 kts) at 1700 Hrs on 15th February 2012. The vessel MV Enrica Lexie is carrying six Italian armed guards. The firing has reportedly resulted in the death of two Indian fishermen. The vessel was bound from Singapore to Egypt with a crew of 19 Indians. The Coast Guard intercepted the vessel and escorted her to Kochi for investigation. The vessel has anchored at Kochi on 15th February 2012 at 2300hrs (IST). The Principal Officer, MMD Kochi has been directed to conduct the preliminary inquiry into this incident resulting in the loss of life of two innocent Indian fishermen,” the Directorate [General of Shipping] said in a press release.

“The Italian ship was attacked yesterday in international waters about 30 nautical miles of the south west coast of India. Italian navy personnel on board following international protocols after repeated warnings and after ascertaining from binoculars that the pirates were armed gradually fired some warning shots and the pirates withdrew. Later, the master of the Italian ship was contacted by the Indian coast guards and requested to direct towards the Kochi harbour to offer information on the pirate attack. The master agreed and the ship is now in Kochi harbour. We are in touch with the Indian authorities and we shall work together to clarify all aspects of the incident,” the Italian Embassy said in a statement on Thursday.

The Hindu carried forward the story:

India on Thursday summoned Italy’s Ambassador and lodged a strong protest over the killing of its two fishermen in firing by security guards of an Italian ship off the Kerala coast suspecting them to be pirates, terming the incident “serious and unfortunate“.

“We are working in very close cooperation with Indian authorities. It is in any case a very sad incident. What I want to underline is that the Italian ship moved voluntarily into the Kochi port,” he told reporters.

Asked about the firing incident, the envoy said: “The Italian Navy followed the international protocol as it was approached by a vessel which did not stop when flash lights were sent.

The vessel was anchored off the Kochi coast and its crew is being questioned by the police in the ship itself.

Official sources said there were 11 fishermen in the boat at the time of the incident out of whom 9 were sleeping and the driver and another person who were awake were shot dead.

“There was no prior warning as reported by the crew,” the sources said, adding the matter was now being investigated by the Navy, Coast Guard and local police.

The bodies of the two dead fishermen — Ajesh Binki (25) and Jalastein (45) — were brought to Kollam last night by Coast Guard and Marine Enforcement authorities.

The BBC added:

Indian officials say they are surprise over the Italians mistaking the fishermen as “pirates”.

“They should not have fired at them. No pirate will launch an attack so close to the Indian coast,” an official said.

This last statement is quite possibly correct. If piracy were a problem near the Indian coast, then Indian fishing fleets would have been in greater danger, especially since one of the objectives of Somali pirates has been to kidnap sailors for a ransom.

Feb 18, 2012

IBN Live follows up:

The Indian authorities say there is nothing to suggest that the fishermen were in the wrong in fact it appears the ship was reckless in opening fire. It used excessive force and violated standard anti-piracy protocols, a case of murder has now been filed against the six armed guards.

Regional Commander of Coast Guard Region said, “If it happens or likely to happen they are supposed to report to the concerned agency no report has been received by the HQ. They should have reported about the pirate attack.”

The Indian government is making the right noises. Defence Minister AK Antony said that what happened was against the law, against norms; so guilty will have to be punished.

But on the ground the day was a waste – several rounds of apparently fruitless discussions took place between the police and Italian officials on the legalities of the probe.

The letter requesting the crew to submit themselves for questioning was sent but the ship remains in Kochi harbour and the crew is refusing to engage with the police. More worryingly, sources suggest the Italians are claiming the incident happened in international waters and therefore won’t submit themselves to police questioning.

IE added:

The captain of the Italian ship, in his reply to the Kochi police notice on Friday night, said he would co-operate with the probe only after diplomatic officials from Italy reached India to take up his cause.

Sources said what has contributed for the confusion was the FIR registered at Neendakara coastal police station, which said the firing incident took place 33 nautical miles off that coast. The Italian ship said the territorial waters was up to 12 nautical miles from the coast. As per law, nautical mile up to 200 from territorial water is exclusive economic zone, in which a coastal state cannot prohibit the movement of a ship. The Italian ship is clutching on to this ground to skip action as per Indian law.

Earlier in the day, Coast Guard IG (western region) S P S Basra told reporters in Kochi that the firing incident on Wednesday, in which two fishermen were killed, had taken place in exclusive Indian zone.

TOI reported a flurry of diplomatic activity:

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has made it very clear that the captain and crew of the Italian ship will have to surrender and cooperate in the investigation of the case.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi had called his Indian counterpart Krishna yesterday who told him that the captain the Italian oil tanker must cooperate with Indian law enforcers.

Krishna, according to a statement by the External Affairs Ministry, said the loss of lives could have been avoided had the naval personnel onboard ” Enrica Lexie” been careful and exercised restraint.

He told his Italian counterpart that “our information clearly indicated that the Indian fishermen were not carrying any arms or ammunition on board their vessel. Indian fishing vessels do not carry these on board but only fishing nets and the fish they catch”.

Krishna told the Italian Foreign Minister of his telephonic conversation with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who conveyed “the strong public opinion and agitation in Kerala” at the loss of the innocent lives and the need for an urgent resolution of this issue.

Feb 19, 2012

In an article time-stamped 9:17 AM, Z News reported:

The crew members of Italian ship ‘Enrica Lexie’, who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen on February 15 off Kollam coast, have yet to surrender before Kochi police.

The marines onboard the vessel were supposed to surrender before Indian officials on Sunday morning by at 8:00 am.

The Italian vessel, currently berthed at Kochi, is owned by Dolphin Tankers and its counsel V. J. Mathew Saturday held discussions with police. Mathew said discussions are going on at various levels in Italy and in Delhi.

NDTV has a good summary of the points being contested:

The Captain and guards of the Italian ship had earlier refused to surrender to Kerala Police saying the incident happened in international waters. However, Indian authorities say the incident happened in the contiguous zone and it is well within their jurisdiction. The contiguous zone is a band of water extending from the outer edge of the territorial sea to up to 24 nautical miles or 44 kilometres from the baseline.

“We are not accepting their argument that it happened in international waters,” Oommen Chandy, Kerala’s Chief Minister had said.

The other defence, the Italians were using was that the firing was in retaliation to a pirate attack, but the Indian government says proper protocol was not followed.

Refuting earlier claims by Italian embassy officials in Delhi that the Indian vessel attacked the Italian ship in international waters, Mr Krishna said that Indian authorities had information that no firearms were present on board the fishing vessel, which was only carrying fishing nets and fish.

Feb 20, 2012

Z News carried a report about the end of the beginning of this case:

Two Italian Naval guards, under arrest and charged with murder over the killing of two Indian fishermen, would be produced in a Kollam court today.

The arrest of Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, yesterday, marked the climax of four days of hard negotiations between Indian and Italian sides. The two were arrested by Kollam police from Kochi and registered a murder case under section 302 of IPC against the two men.

They were brought to Kochi shore at 4 pm yesterday evening and taken into custody, nearly eight hours past the 8 am deadline set by police.

TOI carried a summary of the diplomatic background as the arguments proceeded:

The meeting between the two sides happened hours after Krishna publicly urged the Italians to cooperate in the ongoing investigations. “I have been in talks with the Italian foreign minister and the Kerala chief minister… the law of the land will have to take its own course, we have advised the Italians to cooperate with the Kerala law agencies to achieve an amicable solution. I am expecting the Italian foreign minister to come on the 28th,” Krishna said.

The death of the fishermen is now a major diplomatic incident between India and Italy, and comes hot on the heels of yet another ship incident by Italian luxury liner, Costa Concordia, which was embarrassing to the Italian authorities.

Italian officials took the view that the incident had happened in international waters and took recourse to the UN law of the seas to make the case that Italy should do the prosecution. The Indians contended that since the crime had happened on an Indian vessel, India retained jurisdiction and had the responsibility to prosecute.

When the Italian officials contended that they had out-of-area jurisdiction of their vessel, the Indians countered with the same argument. As a last resort, the Italians pleaded diplomatic immunity for the naval personnel, which the Indians argued did not apply in a third country. The Italian delegation will now head to Kochi.

This could also be a lesson to the government of India about how to handle cases of Indians arrested abroad.

Feb 21, 2012

IBN Live reports the slower news that is natural at this stage of the investigation:

The Kerala police is likely to take the two Italian naval personnel back to their ship Enrica Lexie to seize the arms that were allegedly used to to fatally shoot two Indian fishermen on February 15.

A magistrate sent the two Italian guards to three-day police custody and two weeks of judicial remand.

Feb 23, 2012

Livemint reports on guidelines which govern private armed guards on ships:

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has declined to intervene in the diplomatic row that started because of the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines, saying its guidance pertains only to private armed security on ships and not government naval personnel.

“The guidance (to shipowners/operators) adopted by IMO deals with privately contracted armed security personnel (PCASP), not with the presence of government military personnel on board merchant ships,” [Lee Adamson, head, public information services, IMO] said, adding, “IMO does not address the concept of ‘rules of engagement’ as this is a military concept, outside the organization’s remit.”

But he said that the regulator neither endorses nor institutionalizes the carriage of firearms, or the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board merchant ships, and that it “is scheduling a high-level segment on the opening day of the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) to discuss the issue of arms on board ships”.

MSC is IMO’s highest technical body, and is scheduled to meet in London between 16 and 25 May.

IMO, in September, issued revised interim guidance to shipowners, operators and masters on the use of PCASP in high-risk areas following demand from maritime nations for allowing armed guards on-board merchant ships to prevent attacks by Somali pirates.

The guidance states that a ship’s master or captain will be in command and will retain the overriding authority on-board. “PCASP should be fully aware that their primary function is the prevention of boarding (by pirates) using the minimal force necessary to do so,” it states.

The guidance adds that private maritime security companies, or PMSCs, on-board merchant ships should require their personnel to take all reasonable steps to avoid the use of force.

“The principal aim behind putting armed guards on board ships is to deter pirates from attacking ships rather than engaging in shooting at pirates,” said Peter Cook, founding member of the London-based Security Association for the Maritime Industry, an independent trade association for maritime security companies with 119 members.

The principle sounds appropriate even for armed forces personnel guarding ships. However, this whole area is new, and conventions are not yet well laid out. WSJ writes in its “Europe News” section:

The detention of two Italian naval officers over the fatal shooting last week of two Indians at sea has caused a diplomatic rift that deepened Wednesday, exposing the risks countries run by increasing the use of arms on commercial vessels to deter piracy.

While ship owners have pushed for beefed up security, some observers are worried about the increasing number of weapons on commercial ships.

“What we’re concerned about is that armed guards will mistake fishermen for pirates,” said Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur. “In some cases, fisherman act like pirates”—when close to other vessels—”to protect their nets.”

The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency responsible for maritime safety, decided last year not to push for international rules to govern the use of armed guards on commercial ships but allowed national governments to decide.

It did, however, publish guidelines in September for states seeking to allow private guards on commercial shipping. Those guidelines warned of a “possible escalation of violence which could result from the use of firearms and carriage of armed personnel on board ships.”

For Italy, whose ships regularly pass Somalia on the way to the Suez Canal, allowing navy detachments on commercial vessels is a way to ensure its trade doesn’t suffer, said Giuseppe Severini, judicial advisor to Italy’s defense ministry. “Countering piracy is in Italy’s economic interest,” he said.

But not at the cost of Indian lives, surely?

Not having adequate legal safeguards for fishermen and crews of other small ships cannot be the best recipe for smooth flow of trade over seas. Such a principle is one which Italy wanted to sidestep. The Hindu reported:

New Delhi has resisted pressure from Rome for a “midway formula,” telling the visiting Deputy Foreign Minister that the issue arising out the killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines will now be decided by court.

At a meeting with his counterpart Preneet Kaur, Staffan de Mistura was told that South Block would not be able to intervene because the matter had reached the courts which were “fair and independent.”

Italy has been pressuring India from various quarters and has tried to bring the Vatican into the picture. With the Catholic angle not gaining traction because of the prevailing mood in Kerala, Rome has made three basic arguments: Italy has a provision for extra-territorial application of its laws; UNCLOS provides for prosecution in the home country; and vessels have the right to fire at pirates.

The Ministry of External Affairs counters these by saying Indian laws, too, have a provision for extra-territorial application; the relevant UNCLOS article applies to naval vessels and, that too, in cases of collision; and only naval vessels have the right to fire at pirates, but in this incident, off the Kerala coast, armed fishermen were shot at in an area with no history of piracy.

It seems that Italy has filed an appeal in the Kerala High Court. The normal course of law would follow if things continue to move in this direction.

A TOI report implies that fishermen in these waters have been uneasy for quite a while now:

The Western coast they frequent is used by thousands of merchant vessels at the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) and such incidents of shooting cause widespread panic.

“The fishermen demand protection from the government,” said L Wilfred, former president of the Kanyakumari Mechanised Fishermen Association.

It has irked fishermen in Rameswaram too, who are at the receiving end of attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy. “The lives of fishermen has become so cheap that anybody can shoot at them. Nobody bothers about the revenue we earn for the country or the fish many have for their staple diet,” fumes B Jesuraja of the Mechanised Boats Association, Rameswaram.

Venugopal, state president, Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermens Association, Chennai stated that the government was quick to take action in this case. “The government has acted very quick and detained the Italian ship for investigation. We are hopeful that the government will come out with proper legal measures in this case,” he said.

It is in the interests of trade and livelihoods that this matter is dealt with legally and a balanced precedent emerges from the courts.

Mar 2, 2012

ET reports further diplomatic moves:

Even as the Italian foreign minister sought to persuade external affairs minister SM Krishna, a division bench of the Kerala High Court, comprising Justices Thothathil B Radhakrishnan and C T Ravikumar, directed the owners of the Italian-registered oil tanker the Enrica Lexie to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 3 crore.

The bench was hearing a petition for compensation filed by the families of the deceased fishermen and the boat owner. While Doramma had sought compensation of Rs 1 crore, Binki’s sisters had sought Rs 2 crore compensation. The fishing boat owner had also sought Rs 75 lakh compensation for damage to his boat in the firing.

The Bench said, “we do leave the possibility of an amicable resolution, including mediation. It is premature for the court to arrive at a probable amount that has to be fixed as compensation.” The interim order also said that the ship could leave Indian shores only after approval from investigating agencies.

Addressing a joint press conference with Krishna, the Italian foreign minister regretted the deaths but admitted that differences of opinion persisted. “I have expressed the condolences of Italy and the Italian people over the unfortunate, tragic loss of lives. I have explained frankly the position of our government on the legal aspect. International law should try the Italian men.

There is difference of opinion on this and it has not been resolved,” he said.

IBN Live reported on legal developments:

Two Italian officials were on Friday allowed by a Kerala court to be present during forensic examination of arms seized from the ship ‘Enrica Lexie’ in connection with the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kollam coast on February 15.

The court made it clear that the Italian officials could be present only as “silent spectators” during the examination at Government Forensic Laboratory in Thiruvananthapuram and should not interfere in it, verify the results or reveal it.

In his order, Chief Judicial Magistrate AK Goapakumar, also suggested that, if necessary, a personnel of the Indian Navy could also be present.

Elsewhere, IBN Live reported that the matter of jurisdiction is still in court:

The Kerala High Court today partially heard the petition filed by the Italian government and the two marines, arrested in connection with the killing of two Indian fishermen, and posted the petition to March 6. Justice P S Gopinathan also expressed dissatisfaction on the petition filed by the Italian Consulate General as there were some defects in the rectified petition also. The petitioners, meanwhile, contended that there are contradictions in the FIR and remand report with regard to the place of occurrence of the incident. As per the FIR, the ship was 33 nautical miles away from the coast, whereas the remand report stated that the distance was 22.5 nautical miles, they submitted. They also contended that the law governing a ship will be of that country whose flag is masted on the vessel.

March 7, 2012
The official government of India press release about a conversation between the Indian and Italian prime ministers, economists both, on March 7 is very bland:

The Italian Prime Minister Mr. Mario Monti called the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, today regarding the tragic incident off the coast of Kerala which led to the loss of two precious lives. The Italian Prime Minister condoled the deaths of the two fishermen and expressed regret at the incident. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of deepening relations between India and Italy and agreed that the issues that had arisen following the incident should be resolved amicably in accordance with law and in the spirit of friendship that characterizes relations between the two countries. The two leaders said that they were looking forward to meeting each other at the forthcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.

The truth is more colourful, for once. Right wing elements in Italy are seeing this as a chance to go on the streets. The government of Italy is beginning to use colourful diplomatic language. Midday has the most comprehensive report:

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti rang up his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh Wednesday and warned him against setting a “dangerous precedent” with the jailing and prosecution of two Italian naval guards in India. The two leaders, however, agreed to resolve the issue in accordance with “law and spirit of friendship”.

According to a statement from the Italian government, Monti reiterated the Italian stand that the incident took place in international waters.

“Any attitude from the Indian side that is not fully in line with international law… risks creating a dangerous precedent for international peacekeeping and anti-piracy missions,” Monti was quoted as saying. “Missions in which Indian military are also involved,” he stressed.

“The alleged incident — the circumstances of which still have to be clarified — occurred in international waters and jurisdiction is therefore only Italian,” Monti also told Manmohan Singh, according to a government statement. Monti said he was following the case with “maximum attention and concern”.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi summoned India’s ambassador in Rome to condemn the imprisonment of two Italian marines accused of shooting two Indian fishermen, with New Delhi maintaining that they will be tried according to Indian law.

Terzi conveyed to India’s ambassador Debabrata Saha that the imprisonment of the two soldiers in a prison in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, ordered by a judge Monday was “unacceptable,” the Italian foreign ministry spokesman said.

Amid growing outrage in Italy over the arrests, Terzi stressed that the preferential treatment afforded to Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, who are currently being housed in a separate structure within the prison, was “not satisfactory.”

Manmohan Singh’s bland reply is quoted by TOI:

Singh reportedly told Monti that he wanted “to avoid tensions between India and Italy” and that he would look into the possibility of “a transfer of the two marines from prison to a place of custody more suited to their status.”

If only some people on the Italian ship had not lost their head and refrained from killing innocent fishermen off the coast of India, the unelected government of Italy could have gone on with their appointed job of cleaning their country.

March 26, 2012

TOI reports:

In a change of stance, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Monday said it respects the jurisdiction of Indian court over its two detained marines, accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast. Monti, however, in his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concern over their “nature of imprisonment”.

April 10, 2012

NDTV reports:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to Kerala Police and the state’s mercantile marine department on a petition by the owners of Italian ship MT Enrica Lexie seeking a direction for its release so that it could continue with its voyage, having been detained after two of its crew killed two Indian fishermen in February.

Notice was also issued to the central government and Doramma, the widow of one of the two fishermen who were killed by the Italian marines on board the ship.

A bench of Justice RM Lodha and Justice HL Gokhale issued notice after senior counsel KK Venugopal said the two Italian marines were already in police custody and their firearms had been seized.

The petition by the ship MT Enrica Lexie has challenged the Kerala High Court order detaining the Italian ship by staying the single judge order that had directed the police to permit the ship to sail. The division bench of the high court had stayed single judge order on a petition by Doramma.

Venugopal said that appeal against the single judge order permitting the ship to sail out was not maintainable. He said that his client had complied with the conditions imposed by the court in pursuance of the release order.

The court was told that the 100,000 tonne ship incurred a loss of Rs. 200 crore ever since it was detained at the Kochi port and its losses were adding up every day.

April 25, 2012

IE reports:

The Italian government on Tuesday agreed in the Lok Adalat of the Kerala High Court in Kochi to pay a compensation of Rs 1 crore each to the families of the two Kerala fishermen killed by marines on board Italian ship Enrica Lexie in February, ending the legal battle of the victims’ kin.

After the compensation was settled, Italian Consul General Gian Paolo Cutillo, who represented Italy, touched a Christian chord. Cutillo wanted the victims’ families to give in writing that they had pardoned the killer marines on behalf of Jesus. The victims’ families gave the requested writing in the affirmative.

The families had last week obtained the High Court permission to approach the Lok Adalat for obtaining legal sanction for the settlement. As part of the amicable settlement, the victims’ legal heirs had agreed to withdraw all affidavits and submissions they had made at the time of impleading in the Italian petition.

Subsequently, the agreement was placed before the Lok Adalat on Tuesday.

After the Italian government paid the compensation, a single judge bench of the High Court ordered to refund the bank guarantee of Rs 3.10 crore which the owner of Enrica Lexie had pledged in the court.

Sources privy to the development said the Italian government stepped into the compensation case as the marines on board the ship were deployed by the government.

In Delhi, official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, said there is a case in the Supreme Court over the jurisdiction of Indian law over the detention of the two Italians and until the court decides on it, the case against them would continue. The case will come up in the court on May 8, he said.

May 1, 2012

IE records the Supreme Court’s reaction to the payments made by the Italian government to the families of the victims:

Terming as ‘illegal’ and ‘astonishing’ Italy’s compromise with the kin of two Indian fishermen shot dead by its marines, the Supreme Court today said they were ‘playing’ with the Indian process of law and felt Kerala should have filed an objection.

A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale without mincing words said the mouth of the families of the two victims–Jalastine and Binki–has been “locked” by the Italian Government by paying each an amount of Rs 1 crore which defeated the Indian legal system.

It was also perturbed that the compromise reached between the parties was placed before the Lok Adalat and subsequently a decree was passed under which the victim’s kin were to be paid Rs one crore each and owner of the boat Rs 17 lakh.

“By this means the Indian legal system has been defeated by entering into an agreement with the woman. This is something which is not acceptable. It has surprised us that this has been filed in a Admiralty suit. State government should have filed objection,” the bench remarked.

The apex court also sought the Italian Government’s response on the question of releasing the impounded ship with certain conditions after the owner of the vessel claimed that their detention had cost the company Rs 200 crore loss.

May 2, 2012

IE followed up with this report:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie to leave Indian waters, nearly three months after two marines on board allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala.

The remaining six crew members as well as four marines on board the ship have been allowed to leave too after the Italian government and the vessel owner guaranteed their availability as possible witnesses in the case.

The owner of the vessel, the managing directors of the ship and the shipping agents were instructed to give a written undertaking to the Kerala High Court registrar on this assurance. The court asked the owner of the vessel to execute a bond of Rs 3 crore before the registrar.

The apex court had been extremely critical of the families of the accused marines for paying Rs 1 crore to the kin of the dead fishermen. But the court chose to ignore the issue after the Italians said yesterday that the money was not ”compensation” but a ”goodwill gesture”. The apex court said the current case is confined only to the nuances of the ship’s release.


4 Responses

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  1. You say

    “If piracy were a problem near the Indian coast, then Indian fishing fleets would have been in greater danger, especially since one of the objectives of Somali pirates has been to kidnap sailors for a ransom.”

    but, let’s be honest, who would kidnap an indian sailor? how much would the family be ready to pay? those pirate guys may get millions from taking over a western ship. but they would hardly notice a fishermen boat.


    February 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    • You make two assumptions.

      The first is that Indian fishermen have never been kidnapped. The facts are otherwise: high seas fishermen have been kidnapped before.

      The second is that the pirates are only looking for millions. The facts are again otherwise: pirates are so poor that after trial in India they refuse to go back to Somalia.

      But all this misses the point. The Italian vessel fired on unarmed fishermen near the Indian coast and tried to run away from the incident. Whether or not they acted legitimately must be investigated in India.

      Arhopala Bazaloides

      February 23, 2012 at 3:28 am

  2. […] Dr. Manmohan Singh, today regarding the tragic incident off the coast of Kerala which led to the loss of two precious lives. The Italian Prime Minister condoled the deaths of the two fishermen and expressed regret at the […]

  3. […] TOI reports the latest from the Enrica Lexie shooting case: […]

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