Indian fishermen’s death ‘unfortunate’ incident - SLN | Sunday Observer

Indian fishermen’s death ‘unfortunate’ incident - SLN

24 January, 2021

Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) maintained its stand that the incident where four Indian fishermen died when their fishing trawler capsised northwest of Delft Island was ‘unfortunate’.

“These fishermen were poaching in Sri Lankan waters and their boat capsised when the SLN tried to arrest them. It is an unfortunate incident,” Sri Lanka Navy spokesperson Captain Indika De Silva said.

He said the Indian fishermen, resisting arrest, had rammed into the Navy’s fast attack craft and attempted to escape when it lost control and capsised on Monday (18).

The four corpses of fishermen of the sunken Indian fishing trawler were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) around 10.00 a.m. yesterday (23), Sri Lanka Navy spokesman said. 

Following the incident the SLN launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation and recovered four bodies.

In a media release the SLN stated that its units on patrol carried out an operation to seize Indian fishing trawlers poaching in Lankan waters trespassing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), while observing more than 50 trawlers.

“As the operation was panning out, one of the Indian fishing trawlers, with aggressive manoeuvres resisting arrest, was attempting to evade the arrest thereby colliding with the SLN craft in operation and ultimately sank having lost its stability. The collision also caused damage to the SLN Fast Attack Craft which was later brought to the Kankesanthurai harbour for repair work,” it added.

It is quite evident, it added, that Indian fishing trawlers poaching in Lankan waters are making aggressive manoeuvres resisting arrest by SLN units time and again.

An inquest was held by the Magistrate of Mallakam, and all four bodies were taken to the Teaching Hospital, Jaffna following his orders.

Protests were held in India over the incident. Also, a ‘strong demarche’ was made to the Sri Lankan acting High Commissioner in New Delhi, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs release stated.

“We are shocked at the unfortunate loss of lives of three Indian fishermen and one Sri Lankan national following a collision between their vessel and a Sri Lankan naval craft,” it stated adding, “Our strong protest in regard to this incident was conveyed by our High Commissioner to the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister today. A strong demarche was also made to the Sri Lankan Acting High Commissioner in New Delhi”.

It added, “Expressing our deep anguish at the loss of lives, we emphasised the need to deal with issues pertaining to fishermen in a humanitarian manner. The understanding between the two Governments in that regard must be strictly observed. Utmost efforts should be made to ensure that there is no recurrence.” The SLN has launched an inquiry into the incident.