Mar 02, Colombo: Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has captured four Sri Lankan fishing boats trespassing in the Maldives' Industrial Zone and arrested 25 Sri Lankan fishermen onboard.
The Maldivian Coast Guard has informed Sri Lankan authorities that the fishermen were arrested on charges of violating the Maldives' maritime boundaries.
The Sri Lankan government has taken steps to get the fisherman and the boats released, a spokesman for the Fisheries Department said.
The Sri Lankan fishermen in the four boats have set sail from Chilaw.
It has been reported that two of the boats have caught a large amount of fish and were in the process of transferring them to another two boats in the Maldivian waters when they were arrested.
According to Maldivian media reports, the first two boats were captured on Thursday at 11:30 pm local time 103 nautical miles off Kelaa of Haa Alif Atoll, and while they were being escorted by the Coast Guard to HDh. Kulhudhuffushi, the other two were spotted at 2:30 am local time.
Maldivian Coast Guard ship Huravee has escorted the boats to the Kulhudhuffushi harbor on Friday night.
Sri Lankan fishermen have used two routes to enter the West Asian International Maritime Zone and the fishermen deviating from those routes due to various reasons have caused problems, the Fisheries Department said.