A fishing vessel docked at the Ambalangoda fishing port witnessed a fatal incident resulting in the death of one fisherman and the hospitalization of eleven others due to inhalation of poisonous gas within the vessel’s tank.
The incident unfolded as the multi-day fishing vessel, named Shashini Duva, returned from a fishing expedition in the Arabian Sea, carrying a bountiful harvest of 4000 kg of fish. Upon arrival at the port on Monday (05), customary procedures were underway to unload the catch, clean the vessel, and prepare it for subsequent voyages.
Yesterday (06), the ice warehouse housing the fish harvest from the Shashini Duva was emptied, leaving behind only five “Vanno” fish species in the vessel’s tank. Tragically, while attempting to retrieve these remaining fish, a mechanic working at the port opened the tank, inadvertently exposing himself to the toxic environment within.
Subsequently, a chain reaction occurred as individuals rushed to rescue their unconscious colleague, only to succumb to the noxious fumes themselves. In total, eleven fishermen were rendered unconscious within the tank, prompting swift intervention by the navy and port rescue teams equipped with protective gear.
Despite efforts to revive them, one fisherman tragically lost his life en route to Balapitiya Hospital. The remaining ten were admitted, with two currently fighting for survival in the Intensive Care Unit. The deceased, identified as 44-year-old H.M. Sarath Kumara, hailed from Pokuna Road, Paraghatota Watugedara.
Officials from the Ambalangoda Fishing Port emphasized the need for utmost caution, emphasizing that even seasoned fishermen are vulnerable to unforeseen hazards. They underscored the importance of proper ventilation within vessels and cautioned against neglecting safety protocols, particularly in environments prone to toxic gas buildup, such as fish-laden tanks.