KARACHI: Six fishermen set out to sea in their launch Al Haji Abad, 25 days ago from Keamari.
When the launch anchored on Bhit Island on Monday, three of the men on it were dead and another was in critical condition. Abdul Manan, Shahjehan, Muhammad Rafique, Sheraz, Inam and Moosa had been out at sea for 24 days and were heading towards Bhit Island when they realised that the cold storage cabin was not functioning properly. Manan, 56, the most experienced fishermen of the lot, decided to investigate the matter. “He went down to the cold storage cabin while we waited for him [on the deck].
He never came back,” said Inam, who recounted how the men had waited for 20 minutes after which Shahjehan, 38, decided to go down to the cabin to see what was keeping Manan. When he, too, did not return, Rafique, 45, also went down. He too never came back. It was then that the remaining three fishermen realised that something was wrong. Sheraz had fainted during the rescue work while Inam and Moosa anchored the launch on Bhit Island and removed the bodies from the cabin. The bodies and the unconscious Sheraz were taken to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The bodies were later handed over to the families.
The launch had been out at sea longer than usual, during which time, the cold storage cabin had been filled with ammonia gas, which that killed the men, said SHO Hakim Ali Jalbani, who added that the medical reports of the fishermen confirmed this fact. “It is all about bad luck. Otherwise, a man of Manan’s experience should have realised the condition inside the cabin,” said Moosa. Manan had two sons and three daughters whereas Shahjehan and Rafique were the sole bread winners for their families. The three men were residents of the Bangali Para in Machar Colony.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 25th, 2010.