MV PRABHA DAYA's Master, Gordon Charles Pereira, has been arrested, but remains on board until he can be relieved, according to gCaptain which, as usual, has a good wrap-up of events to date: http://gcaptain.com/captain-arrested-fatal-high-seas/ This story also notes that the VDR may have missing data around the time that the hit-n-run is said to have taken place.
The gCaptain story also notes that the Second Officer, Prasobh Sugathan, who was originally said to have jumped overboard in a suicide attempt, may have actually been pushed overboard; here is an interview with his father that appeared on the news site newKerala.com, in which he claims that his son was "thrown out of the ship": http://www.newkerala.com/news/2011/worldnews-169981.html
K. E. Suguthan claims that the shipping company is trying to frame his son for the killing of the 5 fishermen. He says his son escaped the murder attempt when he was rescued from the sea by Sri Lankan fishermen the next day. Prasobh Suguthan suffered minor injuries and pneumonia, and is in hospital at Trincomalee.
In a story that appeared on IBNLive, Manoj V. Joy of Sailors Helpline, Chennai, charged the Indian investigatory authorities with "glaring discrimination" in that “The authorities are using two entirely different yardsticks. They are going ahead with a sudden action against the master of an Indian vessel while the captain of a foreign vessel which committed a more serious offence is roaming free?" http://ibnlive.in.com/news/arrest-shows-glaring-discrimination/238773-60-116.html
The story also quotes Capt. Veresh Malik who says that third-world sailors are treated differently; he compares the nature of the two incidents, characterizing one as an "error in judgment", while calling the other "outright murder".
There is still a lot we don't know about the hit-n-run; no matter how you regard the investigatory procedures we'll probably eventually arrive at the truth. In the meantime, there's much for a sailor to think upon. The failure of MV PRABHA DAYA to respond to calls for rescue coordination alone is disturbing.
I've had the experience, as I'm sure you have too, of calling another vessel at sea repeatedly without result. This usually isn't cupidity; it can be distraction or inattention by the watch, a radio set improperly (at the sending or receiving end), poor language skills, or some other unintentional cause. It happens quite a bit, and sometimes results in collisions - see this link: http://exportlogisticsguide.com/cargo-ships-collide-off-mumbai/
It also has to be noted that because of declining fishing stocks, Indian fishermen have been going much further offshore in search of fish, in small vessels that may be hard to see. Fishing can be an exhausting profession, and sometimes fishermen aren't as alert as they might be. They may not answer the radio; they may not even be monitoring vessel traffic in their vicinity at all times. Some may not have the high-tech nav aids we take for granted. All these things can expose them to greater hazard. It's one thing to say that they should address these things; but as responsible professional seamen, we need to be aware of reality as regards fishermen, and take extra precautions when navigating in their vicinity - for our own sake as well as theirs.
Have you had any experiences along these lines? How do you feel about the MV PRABHA DAYA case? Please comment below!