Orissa forest officials detain 25 foreign national

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Kendrapada, Oct 5 (UNI) As many as 25 foreign nationals were detained by the forest officials on last Thursday near Agarnashi inside the Gahiramatha marine sanctuary.

The foreign nationals were detained along with a mechanised fishing vessel in the deep sea and the forest officials seized a radar,life jackets, transmitter, freeze, colour TV and other fishing equipments from the vessel, Rajnagar Mangrove Divisional Forest officer A K Jena said.

He said out of the 25 detained persons,22 had been identified as the fishermen and citizen of Myanmar whereas other three belonged to Thailand.

Mr.Jena said the forest officials during their routine patrolling found a deep sea stranded in the Gahirmatha sanctuary near Agarnashi. They soon apprehended them suspecting them catching fish illegally inside the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.

The deep-sea fishing vessel and the 25 crew members were later brought to the Barunei mouth shore.The detained foreign nationals told the police that they working as crew members of a deep sea fishing vessel 'owned by a New Delhi based fish merchant Pradeep Bharadwaj.

The owner of the vessel they claimed had obtained permission from the Ministry of Agriculture and also from the Ministry of Fishery and Animal Husbandry to catch fish in the Indian sea water.

They further said on June 27 last they entered the Bay of Bengal with four fishing vessels for catching fish after obtaining all the permissions from the concerned departments.

While one fishing vessel went to Port Blair,the two of the Thailand bound fishing vessels, Jalpai-1 and Jalpai-2, carrying 36 fishermen of Myanmar and Thailand capsized in the Bay of Bengal near Paradeep on their way to port Blair following a deep depression in Bay of Bengal.

At least eight fishermen,including two fishermen from Myanmar and six others from Thailand were drowned in the deep sea. Paradeep police however, had managed to rescue 28 of them during a joint rescue operation with the help of coast guard.

While 12 fishermen were rescued near Sandhakuda area another 16 fishermen were rescued near the South gate of oil refinery.All the rescued fishermen have been staying in the Orissa Maritime Academy at Paradeep.

The detained persons informed that they have taken the sea route to reach at Paradeep to collect food and ration and were taking shelter in the vessel in the deep sea.

The local police have meanwhile, asked the Embassy of Myanmar and Thailand to take steps for their return. The DFO said the forest officials were verifying the documents and permission certificates of the 25 detained foreign nationals.


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