Union Minister for Shipping, G. K. Vasan on Wednesday said no politics was involved in protecting the Tamil Nadu fishermen and Indian Coast Guard is giving adequate protection to them.

After commissioning of an in-shore patrol vessel of Indian Coast Guard at Chennai Port Trust, Mr. Vasan told media persons, “It is the duty of both Central and State governments to protect the fishermen. There should be a full stop to their problems when their livelihood is affected.” He also condemned the frequent attacks by Sri Lankan Navy on Tamil Nadu fishermen and their arrests.

Expressing hope that a good situation would emerge soon, Mr. Vasan pointed out that the External Affairs Ministry has been taking steps for facilitating a talk between Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen.

He said in this year, the Indian Coast Guard has apprehended 359 foreign sailors and 61 ships for entering into territorial water. Out of them, 275 were Sri Lankan nationals and 51 ships were seized from them.

Referring to the recent riot in Singapore, Mr. Vasan said he would impress upon the External Affairs Ministry to ensure that Tamils live peacefully there.

Mr. Vasan said due to sustained efforts by India Navy, Coast Guard, Director General of Shipping, Ministry of External Affairs and other agencies, many of Indian sailors, who were held captive by Somalian pirates, have been released. The Union government has been taking resolute but discrete effort on the issue of release of eight Indian sailors from the captivity of pirates. Indian Navy apprehended more than 120 Somalia pirates who are currently facing trial in the appropriate courts of law.

Describing the reports of piracy off the west coast of Africa as a new development and cause of concern, the Union Shipping Minister said, “We will take all necessary steps to ensure that the interest of ships and sailors are protected.”

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