Monday, March 26, 2007
An Indian Coast Guard ship is leaving on Monday for the Sri Lanka to facilitate the return of eleven boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen, after a court in the island ordered their release. The boats were part of the 34 craft from the various south Tamil Nadu fishing ports, which had been seized at sea at various times by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly straying into Lankan waters, according to Commandant Vinod Chamoli.Commandant Chamoli is captaining the Coast Guard Ship Habbah Khatan, which will escort a fishing boat carrying seven surveyors from Rameswaram on Monday along with the owners of the 11 boats being released by Sri Lanka. If the boats are found to be fit for the sailing back home, they will be brought back after a final clearance from the court, Commandant Chamoli told this newspaper. The release of the Tamil Nadu fishing boats is the part of an Indo-Lanka initiative to promote goodwill between the Island Navy and the Indian fishermen in the midst of complaints from the latter that they were being targeted for attack, sometimes even resulting in deaths.