The authorities of the Italian oiltanker on Saturday night agreed to hand over by Sunday morning two of the marines onboard the vessel who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen on February 15 off Kollam coast.
Kochi Police commissioner MR Ajith Kumar visited the ship late on Saturday--his second in the day--and spoke to the Captain and crew of the ship for half an hour.
He told reporters on his return to Kochi that the vessel authorities have agreed to turn over two of its marines to the police by 8am deadline on Sunday.
A case of murder was registered by Kollam police two days ago in connection with the incident and the two marines, on their surrender, would be questioned first before further action is taken, police sources said.
The ship authorities agreed to hand over the marine duo after a team of Kerala police led by Ajith Kumar turned on the heat on the vessel's Captain and the crew by asking them to hand over the duo by 8am tomorrow or face police action.
Ajit Kumar had earlier in the day gone to the ship to seek the cooperation of the crew and had held discussions with the Italian Consul General and the Captain.
The two fishermen -- Ajesh Binki (25) and Jalastein (45) -- were killed on February 15 off Kollam coast near Kerala when armed guards of the ship fired at their boat, suspecting it to be a vessel belonging to pirates.
The late night developments came shortly after India did some tough talking on the need for the Italian ship authorities to cooperate with the probe into the killing of the fishermen.
Italian Foreign minister Giulio Terzi today called his Indian counterpart S M Krishna who told him that the captain the Italian oil tanker must cooperate with Indian law enforcers.