As many as 41 fishermen, from Kanniyakumari district and other states, were arrested in Seychelles and Indonesia on Monday.
Sources said 33 fishermen from Kanniyakumari, Kerala and other states, in three boats, ventured into the sea from Kochi port on February 22. They were arrested in the Seychelles. “The fishermen were in three boats: Dono, Infant Jesus and St Snabaga Arulappar. The owners of the boats were from Chinnathurai and Poothurai in Kanniyakumari district,” said International Fishermen Development Trust Chairman P Justin Antony.
Justin said that due to bad weather, their boats drifted away from international borders and they were stopped by Seychelles authorities on March 7. The fishermen were kept on the boats and the captains of the boats were taken to the police station for questioning. He urged the Indian authorities and the Indian Embassy in Seychelles to make efforts for their release. In this regard, Justin on Wednesday sent a memorandum to the Indian authorities, including the Minister of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Seychelles.
Following his memorandum, the authorities of the Indian Embassy in Seychelles replied: “The High Commission of India in Mahé, Seychelles is providing assistance to fishermen from 7 March 2022. The authorities of the Seychelles donates food and water to fishermen in the presence of our consular staff. We also assist fishermen in communication. An official procedure/investigation by the Seychelles authority has been launched”.
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF), Father Churchil, said 8 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Kerala had been arrested by Indonesian authorities. He said they went deep sea fishing in a mechanized ‘Blessing’ boat from Port Blair fishing harbour. They were arrested by Indonesian authorities on March 7 for crossing the Indonesian maritime border and for fishing on Rusha Island, Andaman. The fishermen were detained for legal proceedings.
SAFF sent a memorandum to the Indian authorities to take steps towards their release.