Tamil Nadu asks envoy in Lanka to expedite release of boats

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government has sought the help of the Indian envoy to Sri Lanka to get the boats of Indian fishermen released.

In a letter, state fisheries secretary S Vijayakumar has asked high commissioner Y K Sinha to secure the release of the boats without procedural wrangles. “I request you to clarify the paneer_650_092914014729procedure by which the owners of the 81 boats can obtain the quick release of their boats. The boats were released earlier along with the fishermen but now the Lankan government wants the owners to claim their boats,” said Vijayakumar. “Though Tamil Nadu has been seeking release of the boats, we have come to know that they have been berthed precariously and several of them have been damaged,” said the secretary.

Meanwhile, a report from Kanyakumari said mid-sea detentions for maritime violations by coast guard patrols of foreign countries are proving to be a nightmare for fishermen of Thoothoor hamlet of Kanyakumari district. On January 28, 20 fishermen were apprehended by Seychelles coast guard.

The fishermen – 13 from Tamil Nadu and seven from Kerala – had put out to sea in two fishing boats from Kochi on January 15. A few days back, a group was detained by British coast guard personnel and another by Bangladesh naval units.

Fr A Bebinson, parish priest of Thoothoor, said that their fishermen are caught between livelihood crisis and risk of apprehension by other countries.

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