x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Cousin pleads for body to be sent home quickly

Seeks thorough inquiry after breaking news to dead fisherman's father

Muthuswamy, a cousin of the dead fisherman, at the fishing village in Umm Suqeim area in Dubai.
Muthuswamy, a cousin of the dead fisherman, at the fishing village in Umm Suqeim area in Dubai.

DUBAI // A cousin of the fisherman who died in Monday's incident is calling for the speedy release of his relative's remains and a thorough investigation into the tragedy.

Muthuswamy, who also works in Dubai as a fisherman, phoned his uncle in Tamil Nadu on Monday to break the news that A Sekar, his only son and breadwinner, was dead.

"I spoke to his father and he was too shocked and didn't know what to say," said Muthuswamy, who also works as a fisherman in Dubai.

"He sobbed and asked me to send the body home, saying he would bear all the expenses. It's really sad.

"We want the body to be taken to India fast so that final rites can be performed.

"His parents are waiting to see him for the last time. They will be heartbroken."

Muthuswamy, who also comes from Tamil Nadu, said he had spoken to the men who were on the Emirati-owned fishing boat with Sekar, 29, and they said no warning had been issued by the sailors aboard the UNSN Rappahannock.

"The family is left without a breadwinner. A thorough investigation must be carried out to find the truth," he said.

Sekar was aboard the Tharath, which was returning to port with the day's catch when it was fired on.

Three other fishermen were injured in the incident, which has been strongly condemned by the Indian government.

Muthuswamy said Sekar was planning to return to India to get married and that everything was ready for the wedding.

"He was very excited about the marriage and was eager to return to India. It is not right that he is gone," he said.

"He used to send about Dh600 to India every month. His father is sick and cannot work. He was a big support to the family."

Fishermen at Jumeirah Fishing Village echoed the call to repatriate their colleague's body quickly.

"That would be a big favour to the family. They want to see him for the last time," said Mani, a fisherman.

Others said their difficult job had been made harder by the incident.

"Sometimes we get a good catch, sometimes we return with nothing. Our earnings depend on how much fish we catch every day," said one fisherman, who did not wish to be identified.

"And the latest shooting incident has only made our job much harder. There is no safety for us in the sea."

Another said: "We do not know much about the navy or the army in the sea. We are mainly interested in fish.

"Everything is done by our boss, like controlling the steering or communicating with other vessels. We sit at the back and listen to what he says."

frahman@thenational.ae