Fishermen - Creative Common via Wikimedia Common
CAIRO – 19 February 2018: On Monday, a Sudanese court acquitted an Egyptian fishing boat that has been held in Port Sudan since January 29 on the charge of trespassing in an area of natural reserves and its owner, according to head of Egypt's main fishing trade union Bakri Abu al-Hassan.
Abu al-Hassan stressed in a statement issued on Monday that the court acquitted the entire 36-member-crew and delayed the sentence on the boat and its owner to Monday’s session.
He further remarked that the measures for the boat with its crew to return to Egypt are being terminated.
The Foreign Ministry cooperates with the Egyptian Consulate General in Port Sudan to follow up on the updates of the Egyptian fishing boat that has been held in Port Sudan since January 29, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid.
The Egyptian fishing boat was detained in North Sudan after it had trespassed in an area of natural reserves while returning from Sudan to Egypt.
Abu Zeid remarked that the crew was referred to the prosecution in Port Sudan, which formed a committee to inspect the fishing boat and check its documents. The committee confirmed that the boat fulfills all the requirements of marine safety, fishing license, as well as the amount of authorized fish and the necessary security requirements.
Consequently, the prosecution dropped all charges against the boat except for entering the natural reserves area.
Abu Zeid stressed that the Consulate General is coordinating with the fishing boat’s owner, navigation agent and the crew’s lawyer to be provided with updates on the trial’s legal measures until the crew members are released and return back to Egypt.
Previously, in April 2015, 101 Egyptian fishermen and their three boats were held in Sudan. They were put on trial for trespassing in Sudanese territorial waters.
In August 2015, the fishermen were released and returned to Egypt. This came within the framework of a prisoner-exchange deal between Cairo and Khartoum. Shortly after the release of the Egyptian fishermen, 44 Sudanese prisoners, who had been detained for crossing the border illegally, were released.
Several fishing boats have been detained before in Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They were released after the Foreign Ministry intervened.