Maritime Security

2 Indian Fishermen – Shot and killed off the coast of Kollam – Allegedly Mistaken for Pirates by an Italian security detachment

Armed guards on the Italian flagged tanker Enrica Lexie fired at a fishing boat that they allegedly mistook for pirates.  The incident occurred on Wednesday 15th February.

The Indian dhow was sailing off the coast of Kollam, near Kerela at the time of the incident.  The fishing dhow had a crew of 11 Indian fishermen.

MT Enrica Lexie was said at the time to be carrying a security detachment of six armed Italian Naval Marines.

During the incident the guards from Enrica Lexie claim to have fired warning shots however, 2 Indian fishermen were killed in the skirmish.

At first the Captain and guards of the Italian ship refused to surrender as the incident happened in international waters they claim but the Indian Navy ordered the vessel to alter course and anchor off the coast of India to allow a full investigation of the facts.

The Italian government maintain its own judicial authorities should handle the case as the incident happened in international waters on an Italian-flagged ship.  The Indian authorities are reported to have said that the incident happened in the contiguous zone that is their jurisdiction.

This incident has further fuelled growing friction between India and Italy.

Two Italian Marines were originally taken into Police custody until the 23rd however, a Kollam Court Judge extended their custody until the 28th when the next hearing will be held as Police require more time to complete their investigation.