Impounded boats will be returned: forum

Impounded boats will be returned: forum

February 7, 2015   11:24 am

The Rameswaram fishermen are elated as the new regime in Sri Lanka, headed by Maithiripala Sirisena, has decided to release their impounded boats, according to the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF).

Quoting reliable sources, ARIF President U Arulanandham told The Hindu on Friday that the new government has agreed to release all the 86 boats, impounded during the arrest of fishermen on charges of poaching into the Sri Lankan waters since June last year. As the cases relating to the release of the boats were pending before different courts in the island nation, the modalities were being worked out, though initial reports suggested that the Lankan government wanted the boat owners to appear before the courts and secure the release after producing necessary documents.

Stressing the need for expeditious return of the boats, he said the boats, which were berthed in Kankesanthurai, Karainagar, Talaimannar and Trincomalee ports for the past eight months had suffered damage and they would suffer further damage if the release was delayed.

Mr Arulanandham urged the Lankan authorities to dispense with the personal appearance of the boat owners and allow salvage teams to retrieve the boats.

“This has been the practice earlier and the new regime should not further delay the release,” he said.

As the boat owners had no passports it would be extremely time consuming if they were to appear before the courts to produce the Registration certificates, he said. They were also handicapped by poor financial status, the ARIF leader also said.

He said in 2005, when the Lankan government ordered the release of impounded boats, the authorities either allowed salvage teams to retrieve the boats or allowed the ARIF to represent the boat owners in courts with power of attorney and secure the release of boats. - The Hindu


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