Fishermen keep police officers hostage mid-sea

A mid-sea hostage crisis unfolded near the Thumba coast when two police officers and a coastal warden, who rushed to prevent a group of fishermen from engaging in illegal fishing, were abducted on a fishing boat on Thursday.

Tension prevailed shortly after a team of the Vizhinjam coastal police was dispatched to Thumba to act on information that banned purse seine nets were being rampantly used by fishermen in the area.

On finding a group of fishermen engaged in the illegal activity from a boat named Soubhagya, a trio of officials – grade additional Sub-Inspector Ajith, civil police officer Vinod and coastal warden Soosai Michael – jumped onboard to bring the vessel towards the Vizhinjam coast.

However, the fishermen decided against following orders and took the boat towards Anjuthengu. They hailed from Anjuthengu and Perumathura, sources said.

The uncertainty that lasted for an hour drew to a close after the Anjuthengu coastal police rushed to seize the fishing boat and force the fishermen to surrender.

Vizhinjam coastal police station house officer H. Anil Kumar said 12 people have been taken into custody. While their arrests would be recorded, they would be charged under provisions pertaining to obstructing police personnel from discharging their duties, intimidation and abducting them, he said.

He added that combined inspections by the Fisheries department, Marine Enforcement and the Coastal police will be undertaken in the region to rein in illegal fishing practices, especially during the trawling ban.

Activities such as seine fishing are bound to deplete fish stocks and affect the livelihood of the fishing community in the long run, the officer cautioned.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 8:32:50 am |