THE coast guard on Monday morning arrested five fishermen from Sri Lanka for allegedly violating the international maritime boundary and poaching Indian marine resources near Kodiyakkarai in the district.After enquiries were completed mid-sea, all the fishermen were taken to the Karaikal private port on the coast guard’s Rani Durgavati vessel in the evening.

Ranil, one of the arrested fishermen, said, “We left shore from the Trincomalee harbour on February 28 and due to bad weather, we mistakenly sailed towards Indian territorial waters. We have not come here intentionally to poach marine resources.”Coast guard officials, however, said that while patrolling the region from the Karaikal station to Kodiyakkarai, they found a mechanised boat stranded mid-sea. “When we accessed the stranded boat, we found five fishermen from Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. We arrested them northeast of Kodiyakkarai and also seized their boat at around 9 am for violating International Maritime Boundary Line rules and entering Indian waters to poach marine resources,” said Somasundaram, Karaikal station commander of the force.

The other apprehended fishermen are Dhanushkar, Arun, Madhuranga, Dilan–all from Anchakattai village near Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. All five fishermen were handed over to the Q branch police for further enquiries. The Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group will initiate legal proceedings against them.