NAGAPATTINAM: Around 25 Sri Lankan fishermen have been arrested and at least five Sri Lankan deep sea fishing vessels seized for fishing in Indian waters near Vedaranyam on Monday.
The five Sri Lankan boats were reportedly in Indian waters in the Bay of Bengal around 200 nautical miles from Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district.
According to officials, the boats were longliner boats and were reportedly catching tuna. The Coast Guard's offshore patrol vessel ICGS Shaurya was instrumental in catching the Sri Lankan fishers who were allegedly violating maritime borders and fishing in Indian waters.
According to the Indian Coast Guard, they were informed about the activities of at least five boats after their location was detected by radar stations in Nagapattinam.
The ICGS Shaurya, which was patrolling the waters rushed to the spot, and reportedly found them in Indian waters as reported by radar stations between 7.30 am 11.30 am. The Sri Lankan longliner boats had been stretching their long lines to catch tuna at the time.
Coast Guard personnel reportedly boarded the Sri Lankan vessels the intruding boats, and took control of them at gun-point. The Sri Lankan vessels escorted by ICG persona are expected to be brought to the shores of Karaikal early Tuesday early morning.
“As per Maritime Zones Act, the Indian Coast Guard is required to file an FIR, make an investigation, and hand over to Marine Police in Vedaranyam. They will file an FIR on their own, produce the accused before a magistrate, and remand them to judicial custody," said Commandant SR Nagendran, the Commanding Officer of Indian Coast Guard.
The incident on Monday is being seen as a ‘turning of tables’ by Indian Coastal security in the wake of Indian fishers, from Tamil Nadu, frequently being arrested in Sri Lankan waters.
ICGS Shaurya had come from Chennai for the Coast Guard anniversary celebrations in Karaikal and was doing the patrol rounds before being ordered to return to Chennai.