Iranian fishing boat intercepted by ICG brought to Kochi for further investigation

Kochi, May 6 (PTI) The Iranian fishing boat intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard off the coast of Kozhikode a day ago was brought to Kochi on Monday for further investigations.

According to a Defence statement, the detention of the foreign fishing boat with Indian crew onboard once again highlights the complexities of maritime security and the challenges faced by maritime law enforcement agencies in preventing illegal activities at sea.

“This incident underscores the ongoing efforts of the ICG to safeguard India’s maritime borders and maintain law and order in the Maritime Zones of India,” it said.

Utilising a swift sea-air coordinated operation, Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft effectively intercepted and detained an Iranian-flagged foreign fishing vessel off the west coast of Beypore in Kozhikode district on Sunday.

During the operation, heightened security levels were maintained by ICG ships, the statement noted.

“The boat was boarded by a Coast Guard team. The boarding operation revealed that the fishing boat was of Iranian nationality, with six crew members of Indian nationality. The boat was thoroughly checked by the ICG team to ascertain its involvement in any anti-national activity,” it said.

The initial investigations revealed that the boat is owned by an Iranian sponsor named Syed Saud Ansari, who had contracted six Indian fishermen (from the Kanyakumari region of Tamil Nadu) by issuing them Iranian visas for fishing off the Iran Coast in his boat since March 26, it added.

“The crew alleged that the sponsor had been ill-treating them and had not provided them with basic living conditions. Further, they also alleged that the sponsor had confiscated their passports. The crew subsequently decided to escape from Iran to India using the same boat, where they were working as fishermen,” the statement said.

As the detained boat is brought to Kochi for further investigation and legal proceedings, it underscores the Indian Coast Guard’s commitment to adhere to due process, it said.

This incident serves as a reminder of the constant vigil required to safeguard the Indian maritime border and the dedication of the ICG to fulfill its mandate of ensuring safety and security at sea, the statement added.

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