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Monday, January 17, 2022

Coast Guard apprehends Pakistani fishing boat with 10 crew members off Gujarat coast

A government release on Sunday said that nothing suspicious was found in the fishing boat.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
Updated: January 9, 2022 6:08:04 pm
Coast Guard, Pakistani boatOn September 15 last year, the ICG had in a similar operation caught a Pakistani boat with 12 crew members in the Indian waters off the Gujarat coast. (File photo)

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has intercepted a Pakistani fishing boat on the Indian side of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Arabian Sea and apprehended 10 crew members on board, officials said on Sunday. The crew members are being brought to Porbandar, they added.

The operation was conducted by ICG ship Ankit while it was on routine patrolling duty.

“Coast Guard ship ANKIT during operational patrol at Arabian Sea apprehended a Pakistani Fishing Boat (PFB) Yaseen along with 10 Pakistani crew, operating in Indian waters during the intervening night of 08 January 2022. The said fishing boat when interdicted and interrogated could not justify the presence in Indian waters and was therefore apprehended by ICG ship,” an official release issued by the government on Sunday said.

This is the third such incident in recent months. The Coast Guard had apprehended two Pakistani fishing boats with 18 crew members on board in early December off the Okha cost. A few days later, the Coast Guard in a joint operation with Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad had intercepted a Pakistani boat with seven crew members and ferrying 77 kg of heroin which had an international market value of Rs 4,000 crore.

In September last year, the Coast Guard had apprehended another Pakistani fishing trawler with 12 members on board for allegedly violating territorial waters of India.

However, the release on Sunday said that nothing suspicious was found in the fishing boat. “During the initial boarding, PFB Yaseen registered at Ketibandar was found in possession of approximately 2000 kgs of fish catch along with 600 Ltrs of Diesel. PFB along with 10 crew is presently being towed to Porbandar for further detailed investigation and joint interrogation,” stated the government release.

India and Pakistan have disputes over the alignment of the notional IMBL in the Arabian Sea off the Kutch coast in Gujarat.

As per the list of prisoners exchanged by both counties on January 1, there are 628 Indians, including 577 fishermen, in Pakistani jails. On the other hand, 355 Pakistani nationals, including 73 fishermen, are lodged in various Indian jails.

Peace activists have long been demanding that the two neighbours see the issue though a humanitarian lens and adopt a no-arrest policy in cases of fishermen crossing the IMBL inadvertently.

The release on Sunday added that the fishing boat Yaseen tried to escape towards the Pakistani side of IMBL but the Coast Guard foiled that attempt. “On seeing the ICG ship, the PFB attempted initially to flee towards Pakistani waters but quick response by ICG ship despite marginal weather and visibility conditions, the Pakistani boat was made to stop and (was) apprehended,” added the release.

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