Fishermen and boat owners at Porbandar said on Saturday that they did not hear or see any fire or explosion at sea in the early hours of January 1, when the suspicious Pakistani boat blew itself up.
“If any Pakistani fishing trawler crosses the boundary (IMBL), fishermen would be the first to come to know. We remain in touch by VHF…But I got no message about any boat,” Bhima Vaja (23), captain of the Porbandar-registered fishing trawler ‘Mother’, said. He was fishing near the Dwarka-Okha coast at the time of the incident.
Chandubhai Bari (65), a crew member on the trawler Al Rafai which had been fishing some 50 km off Porbandar, said he had no idea about the incident until he returned to port on Saturday morning.
“Any Pakistani boat will be identified by Gujarat fishermen by its shape and colour. Fishermen pass on the message to others fishing nearby. But I had no idea about this incident until somebody told me,” Bari said.
Manish Lodhari, secretary of the National Fish Workers Forum, said the incident would likely have taken place far out into the sea. “Approximately, 3,000 to 4,000 fishing boats and trawlers were at sea then, but none passed on the message,” he said.
The office of the assistant director of fisheries in Porbandar confirmed that at least 1,055 trawlers and boats which left Porbandar port were at sea.
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