One crewman dead after Indian coastal vessel sinks off Maldives

Esther Rajathi (Photo: Inaaz)
Esther Rajathi (Photo: Inaaz)

Indian media reports that one person is confirmed dead as a result of a maritime incident wherein a coastal vessel transporting cargo sank in bad weather off Maldives on Saturday, October 1.

The Indian-registered coastal vessel Esther Rajathi had earlier departed Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and was en route to Maldives' capital of Male when it encountered three-metre-high waves and gale-force winds some 50 nautical miles north-east of the latter city in the afternoon (local time) of Saturday.

The vessel then sank, though six of the crew were picked up within minutes by a cargo ship that was also in the area.

Tragically, the seventh crewmember, a 56-year-old male, was already deceased by the time he was pulled out of the water.

The six survivors and the deceased crewman were later turned over to local authorities in Male.

Maldives Port officials had earlier notified the crew of Esther Rajathi of a forecast of wind speeds of between 35 and 45 knots along part of their route. However, as the communication was only via mobile phone, there was no further contact between port officials and the vessel up until the time of its sinking.

A representative of a local vessel owners' association said the tragedy could have been avoided had the government supplied enough satellite phones to crews.

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Baird Maritime / Work Boat World