A group of 35 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who were arrested over a month ago near the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in the Indian Ocean, has been handed over to the Indian Coast Guard on Monday, according to a defence statement.
The fishermen had ventured into deep-sea fishing areas around 230 nautical miles near the BIOT, which is an archipelago of 58 islands covering approximately 640,000 sq km of ocean. The BIOT, a British Overseas Territory located midway between East Africa and Indonesia, is administered from London. The fishermen were arrested on September 29, underwent trial in BIOT, and were fined 25,000 British Pounds, as stated in the release.
One boat has been seized since the fine was not paid, while another boat and its 35 crew members were released, it said. They were brought off Vizhinjam on BIOT patrol vessel ‘Grampien Endurance’ and on their own fishing boat. They were handed over at sea to Indian Coast Guard ships ‘Anagh’ and ‘C 441’, the statement said.
The fishermen are expected to arrive at Vizhinjam around 7:30 pm where they will be medically examined and interrogated by agencies concerned. Subsequently, they will be handed over to the Fisheries Department for safe passage to Thengapattinam in Tamil Nadu, the statement added according to ANI.