The Sri Lankan Navy arrested 12 Indian fishermen and confiscated their two mechanized fishing trawlers for allegedly poaching in the Island nation's territorial waters on early Thursday.
Fisheries officials said over 3,000 fishermen had set sail into the sea from Rameswaram fishing jetty on Wednesday morning for a fishing expedition. A group of fishermen erroneously crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) due to adverse weather condition and were spotted by a Sri Lankan Naval Patrol Craft off Delft Island.
The Sri Lankan Naval personnel detained two boats along with 12 fishermen and chased away other Indian fishing boats. The incarcerated fishermen were taken to Talaimannar for interrogation.
This is the first incidence of arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy after the beginning of the new fishing season on June 15, subsequent to a 61-day fishing ban.
The Sri Lankan Navy arrested 464 fishermen hailing from Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam districts in Tamil Nadu, besides Karaikkal in Puducherry and impounded 77 fishing trawlers during 2017-18.
However, the Sri Lankan government released all the fishermen on different occasions, sans fishing trawlers.
More than 160 Indian fishing trawlers were still under the custody of Sri Lanka. (UNI)