Sushma Swaraj Asks for DNA Test of Body Found With Sunken Ship’s Life Jacket in Indonesia

There were 26 Indians on board the cargo ship, of which 16 were rescued. 


The Indian government has asked for DNA identification of a body that was found wearing a life jacket with a mark belonging to the sunken ship Emerald Star, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Nov. 19.  The MV Emerald Star, which had 26 Indians on board, sank off the coast of Philippines in the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 13.

The cargo ship weighed 33,205 tons and sank due to a typhoon. The ship was built in 2010 and carried a Hong Kong flag. Of the 26 Indians on board, 16 were rescued in an operation conducted by the Indian Navy, and the Philippines and Japanese authorities. The cargo ship was traveling from Indonesia to China with nickel ore, reported Maritime Bulletin.

An unidentified body was found buried on Oct. 28 on the island city of Banua, the Philippines Coast Guard informed New Delhi recently, Swaraj tweeted. The body was severely decomposed.

“I have asked Indian Ambassador in Manila that the body be exhumed and brought to Manila for identification by DNA,” Swaraj said on Twitter.

The ship sank about 600 km south of the Ishigaki island in South West Japan, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The Japanese Coast Guard said it had received a distress signal from the ship when it was about 280 km east of the northern tip of the Philippines.

The rescued crew were taken to the Gerry Filippetto Memorial Foundation Hospital for further medical treatment. They had sustained multiple physical injuries and head trauma, Maritime Bulletin reported.

Those identified among the rescued Indian nationals are: chief cook Kharty Kerthikeyan, 46; deck fitter Dasari Prakash Rao, 37; chief officer Kishore Kumar, 46; trainee Rama Durai Umadurai, 23, and trainee Joseph Pragash, 24.

Those missing are Captain Nair Rajesh Ramachandran, second officer Rahul Kumar, third officer Subramaniam Giridhar Kumar, chief engineer Rajput Shyam Singh, fourth engineer Subbiah Suresh Kumar, junior engineer Chauhan Ashok Kumar, Perumalsamy Gurumurthy, Malavaranan Silambarasan, Murugan Gowtham and Bevin Thomas.

Chief engineer Shyam Singh Rajput had alerted the crew that they would have to abandon the ship. Until Oct. 15, it was believed that it’s likely the rest 10 crew members survived the typhoon as they were wearing life jackets.

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