On 15th February, 2012, the security guards of an Italian flag vessel, M.T. Enrica Lexie, fired on an Indian fishing boat off the Kerala coast killing two fishermen. The Indian Coast Guard diverted the ship to Kochi. The two Italian security guards have been taken into custody by the State police.
The Government of Kerala has made an ex-gratia payment of ` 5.00 lakhs each to the families of the deceased victims. The Government of Tamil Nadu has also made a financial assistance of ` 5.00 lakhs to the family of one of the deceased who belonged to Tamil Nadu.
The Government has issued guidelines for deployment of armed guards on Indian Merchant Ships. Further, all merchant ships have been advised by Directorate General(Shipping) vide M.S. Notice dated 7th March, 2012 to report the presence of armed guards on-board to Indian Navy/Indian Coast Guard.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Shipping, Shri G.K. Vasan in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.