Saudi Arabia releases Egyptian boat seized for fishing in its waters

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Thu, 21 Jan 2021 - 09:52 GMT

A fishing boat- CC via Maxpixel

A fishing boat- CC via Maxpixel

CAIRO – 21 January 2021: An Egyptian fishing boat seized earlier by Saudi authorities over fishing in the Kingdom’s territorial waters was released and the 35 citizens on board are safe, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

The boat, dubbed Shefaa, was seized after crossing to the Saudi territorial water, a practice that Egypt has recently warned against, after many fishermen were held in Tunisia over the same reason.

In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said the Saudi authorities have responded to the request of the Egyptian consulate and released the boat and the fishermen on Tuesday after providing it with necessary fuel and supplies.

Authorities also made sure that the staff on the boat are in safety and good health and that the weather conditions are stable, before it allowed the boat to leave.

Earlier this month, Egypt’s Immigration Ministry urged fishermen to immediately stop accessing economic waters of other countries, after many Egyptian fishing boats have been seized in Tunisia over illegal fishing.

The ministry said the state’s authorities are working to avoid fishermen from accessing other nations’ territorial waters, out of respect to its international and legal commitments and its keenness to protect Egyptian fishermen.

The ministry said relatives of 61 fishermen from Kafr El-Sheikh in northern Egypt have asked the ministry for help as the fishermen have been held in Tunisian Sfax port for three weeks.

It added that the ministry immediately acted to ensure the safety of the detained fishermen.

The fishermen were illegally fishing in the Tunisian economic zone when they were seized, the ministry said, noting that they are all fine.

The authorities in Tunisia are verifying the fishermen’s identities to make sure they are all Egyptian nationals, in preparation for other procedures, the ministry added.

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