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11 Sri Lankan Fishermen Held, 2 Tuna Boats Seized

An Indian Coast Guard ship ICG Sagar on its routine patrolling in pulicot lake area off Nellore coast has intercepted two Sri Lankan tuna fishing boats earlier this week and taken into custody all the 11 crew on board for violation of international maritime regulations and fishing in territorial waters.

The boats ‘Tejan’ and ‘Aravind’ were towed to Kakinada Coast Guard Jetty and handed over to Marine Police Vakalapudi for prosecution.

The Marine police circle inspector Pavan Kishore told media persons that all the 11 crew members on board of two small tuna longliner boats were fishermen and speaking Sinhalese.

They told during interrogation that they sailed from Trincomalai in Sri Lanka on April 28 morning and due to bad weather drifted away towards Indian coast.

All of them would be produced before second additional judicial first class magistrate in the designated court by evening.

300 kilos of tuna fish on board of the boats would be handed over to fisheries department for auctioning, Mr. Kishore added.

Increasingly there is some political tension between India and Sri Lanka over fishermen – often targeting tuna – venturing in the other country’s EEZ. Both countries have been arresting fishermen and confiscating their vessels. With the worth of the tuna resources rising and both countries having strong ambitions towards expanding their tuna catches, tension has been increasing.