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Sri Lankan Navy arrests 16 Indian fishermen, two boats also seized

- March 24, 2022

Chennai, March 24 (BPNS)

Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 16 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and seized two mechanized fishing boats they were traveling for violation of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). The arrests, according to fishermen leaders of Mandapam and Rameswaram were made late at night on Wednesday.

Since January 2022, 72 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy of which 42 were released.   With the arrest of 16 fishermen on Wednesday night, the total number of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu who are under the custody of the Sri Lankan Navy has risen to 46.

Tamil Nadu fisheries department officials told BPNS that 16 fishermen from Mandapam and Rameswaram had gone fishing into the deep sea in two fishing boats on Tuesday night and according to information available, they are taken into custody by Sri Lankan Navy officials on Wednesday night.

Official sources with the Marine coastal police of Tamil Nadu and Tamil Nadu fisheries department told IANS that the 16 fishermen along with the two mechanized boats and their catch were taken to Sri Lanka for production before the court in Jaffna.

Sri Lankan Navy in a statement on Thursday said that during patrols conducted by the Fast Attack Craft of the Northern and Central Commands, 16 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, two mechanized fishing boats, and their fish stock were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy. The Navy said that the Indian fishermen were indulging in bottom trawling in Sri Lankan waters after crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line. The bottom trawling type of fishing is against the rule in Sri Lanka as the island nation has taken a strong stand against bottom trawling as it would cause depletion in fish resources.

The Sri Lankan Navy in its statement also said that the arrests were made adhering to Covid -19 protocols and that the Indian fishermen and their boats and catch would be handed over to the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka.