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Sea tragedy could have been averted

Bahrain News
Fri, 15 Apr 2016
By Raji Unnikrishnan

Bahrain: A tragedy at sea could have been avoided if sailors had steered clear of a shipping lane used by much bigger vessels, it has been claimed.

It follows the death of 29-year-old Sahabuddin Abdur Rahim, from Bangladesh, on Wednesday when he was dragged into the water when a net got snagged by a large passing ship. 

He was trying to free the net at around 5pm after it became entangled in his small boat’s propeller, causing the vessel to drift into the shipping lane, according to his colleague and roommate.

Two other fishermen, identified only by their first names Nimal and Panu, were rescued after being thrown overboard.  

“There were three men in a small fishing boat and, as I understood from a fisherman on another boat who helped rescue Nirmal and Panu, they were in a spot meant for bigger boats and ships,” the Indian fisherman told the GDN

“They were laying nets and one got stuck in the boat’s propeller.

“Sahabuddin got down into the water trying to free the net, but a bigger boat came by creating larger waves and the boat driver obviously could not see Sahabuddin’s boat, which was small. 

“According to men on another boat they were shouting to the bigger boat, but could not be heard. 

“Suddenly the net, along with Sahabuddin, was dragged by the propeller beneath the boat and he drowned. 

“This toppled the small boat and Nimal and Panu were rescued by the others.”

The GDN reported yesterday that the incident happened near Jaliaa Island, off Asry coast. 

A Bangladesh Embassy spokesman said the deceased’s body was now at the King Hamad University Hospital morgue. 

“We are trying to find out if the dead man has any relatives here so we can contact the family,” said the spokesman. 

“The sponsor could not be reached and we are yet to contact the survivors, who lost their phones, to find out what happened.”

A social worker who provides support to Bahrain’s fishing community, Pada Lingam, said that tragedy could have been avoided if the men had chosen to simply cut away the entangled net. 

“First of all they drifted into a place not meant for smaller boats, it is meant for ships and bigger boats,” he said.

“They were trying to save the net instead of cutting, which I feel led to the tragedy.”

It is understood Mr Rahim only arrived in Bahrain in February. 

The boat owner could not be reached for comment.

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