Around 35 fishermen from Tamil Nadu who were arrested more than a month ago from near the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in the Indian Ocean, and tried and fined 25,000 Pounds Sterling, were on Monday handed over to the Indian Coast Guard, a defence statement said.
The fishermen had ventured to fishing areas in the deep sea, around 230 nautical miles near the BIOT — an archipelago of 58 islands covering some 640,000 sq km of ocean. The area is a British Overseas Territory, located approximately halfway between East Africa and Indonesia, and administered from London, the statement said.
The fishermen were arrested on September 29, tried at BIOT and fined 25,000 British Pounds, it said. One boat has been seized as the fine was not paid, while another boat and its 35 crew members were released, it said.
They were brought off Vizhinjam on BIOT patrol vessel ‘Grampien Endurance’ and on their own fishing boat. They were handed over at sea to Indian Coast Guard ships ‘Anagh’ and ‘C 441’, the statement said.
The fishermen are expected to arrive at Vizhinjam around 7:30 pm where they will be medically examined and interrogated by agencies concerned. Subsequently, they will be handed over to the Fisheries Department for safe passage to Thengapattinam in Tamil Nadu, the statement added.