KARACHI: A Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) sailor was martyred and two Indian fishermen went missing at sea when an Indian fishing boat carrying eight fishermen tried to escape and capsized after they were caught fishing in Pakistani waters in the Arabian Sea, a PMSA statement said on Thursday.

It said that a PMSA ship while patrolling Pakistan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) encountered around eight Indian fishing vessels engaged in illegal fishing activities well within Pakistani waters.

To evade capture, it said, one of the fishing boats accelerated its speed and started to move towards Indian waters. During hot pursuit, the fishing vessel continued to evade capture despite multiple warnings and instructions to stop and cooperate, it added.

“Eventually, the fishing vessel slowed down, allowing the PMSA ship’s boarding team to embark,” said the PMSA statement. “However, after PMSA personnel were on the fishing vessel, it suddenly accelerated speed and altered its heading, thereby colliding with the PMSA ship. Consequently, the fishing vessel capsized and sank with all personnel on-board ie PMSA boarding team and fishermen, being thrown into sea.”

Subsequently, the statement said, the fishing vessel sank in the same position which pushed the PMSA ship to act swiftly, which led to rescue of five out of seven Indian fishermen and four PMSA personnel.

“However, regrettably, one PMSA sailor, Muhammad Rehan, later embraced martyrdom while two remaining Indian fishermen are still missing at sea,” it added.

“Search and Rescue Operation for the two missing Indian fishermen is in progress. The bravery and sacrifice of the PMSA sailor who lost his life in the line of duty is a sombre reminder of the risks involved in operations at sea.”

The PMSA said legal proceedings had been initiated against the Indian fishermen for that “reckless and unlawful behaviour” at sea and illegal fishing in Pakistani waters.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2024

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