Captain of a ship on trial for wrongly causing death of fisherman

By Accidents

A vessel's captain and 2 of his crew members have gone on trial accused of causing the death of one fisherman and injuring 3 others when their container vessel slammed into a small fishing boat.

The accident occurred off the coast of Jebel Ali in Dubai.

Dubai Court of Misdeamours was told how the 5 fishermen were thrown from their small vessel and into the sea when the large ship ploughed into their vessel in June.

The Dubai court was told the accident occurred at 2:30 a.m. and the men were left clinging to their fishing gear for 7 hours before being saved by another fishing vessel.

However, while 4 of the fishermen were transported to Rashid hospital, 1 of the Indian crew members on the fishing vessel named ‘Zahra’ wasn't found. Dubai Court records state that the container vessel was en route to Bahrain at the time of the incident but returned to the port of Jebel Ali days later and the defendants - a captain aged 52, a sailing officer aged 46 and a sailor aged 63 – who are all American, were summoned by police.

One of the fishermen testified that the man who was lost at sea was driving the fishing vessel at the time of the incident with the container ship while the other crew members slept.

The 23-year-old Indian crew member stated: “I opened my eyes and saw a huge container vessel coming from our right, it was so close and so big that I could not even scream. I found myself in the water right under the big container vessel, it bumped me in the head. I tried to swim to the surface and then saw our fishing boat ‘Zahra’ had turned into pieces and my colleagues are hanging to the fish box.”

A small fishing vessel noticed the men about 10:00 a.m. and pulled them out of the water before calling coast guards to conduct the rescue operation. The defendants deny the charges. They claim their radar showed a vessel in front of them but it disappeared and they thought the fishing vessel must have moved away so they continued on their way to Bahrain.

The trial was adjourned.