Jan 10, Colombo: Fifty-one Indian and three Sri Lankan fishermen who were held in custody in each other's countries for violation of International Maritime Boundary Line and engaging in illegal fishing practices, were released from custody and repatriated to their respective countries today.
The fishermen were released from the custody following a decision taken at the recent ministerial-level talks held in Colombo.
The Sri Lanka Navy assisted in the repatriation of fishermen, which occurred at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the seas north of Kankasanthurai.
Navy's Landing Craft L 820, Sri Lanka Coast Guard Craft CG 48 and Indian Coast Guard Ship 'Sagar' were deployed for the repatriation mission.
The Sri Lankan Navy handed over the 51 fishermen from Tamil Nadu, released from Sri Lankan jails on January 6, to the Indian Coast Guard while the three Sri Lankan fishermen, released from the Puzhal Prison in Chennai on January 8, were handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy at the IMBL.
The Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested when they drifted into the Indian waters off Dhanushkodi recently after their boat ran out of fuel.
The 51 fishermen from Tuticorin, Pudukottai and Ramanthapuram districts would arrive at Karaikal coast from where they would be taken to their respective destinations, The Hindu reported.