Fishermen's organisations have urged the government to arrest the captain of the Italian oil tanker that had fired upon an Indian fishing vessel killing two men on board.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, leaders of the Kerala Swathantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation and the Association of Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen, Kanyakumari, called on the government to hold the Italian ship impounded.

They said similar incidents of foreign vessels firing upon Indian fishermen had occurred at Rameswaram, Thuthur, Poovar, and Vizhinjam.

“While Indian fishing craft have the right to operate in territorial waters up to 200 nautical miles from the coast, foreign vessels travel 25 miles close to the coast, often violating international laws. Several catamarans and small boats have been damaged in collisions with the ships, fishermen have been killed, and their fishing equipment ruined,” said T.Peter, president, KSMTF, and Vincent Jain, Chief Executive of the Association of Deep Sea Going Artisanal Fishermen.

They alleged that the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Enforcement wing had failed to prevent such incidents and ensure the safety of fishermen at sea. “Fishermen are afraid to venture out to sea. They are concerned about their safety.”

The organisations called on the State and Central governments for urgent measures to restore the confidence of fishermen. They demanded intensive patrolling at sea and adequate compensation for the families of the victims.

Fish workers will stage a dharna before the Secretariat on Tuesday to highlight the demands.

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