India issues advisory to vessels on fishing activity

New Delhi: To ensure security of Indian fishermen in high seas following the killing of two by guards of an Italian vessel off Kerala coast, India has issues a navigational warning sensitising the transiting merchant vessels about fishing activities in the area. In a written reply, Defence Minister A K Antony informed the House on the steps taken by the government following the February 15 incident.

“A Navigational Warning `NAVAREA”, which is issued for advising the mariners at sea about significant marine information, has been issued by the Chief Hydrographer of India sensitising the transiting merchant traffic about fishing activities in area,” Antony told the House. The local print media in Kerala has also issued necessary advisory for fishermen and the Director General Shipping has issued a notice to apprise the shipping community about the fishing activities on South West coast of India, he said.

“Besides regular patrolling and air surveillance by Indian Coast Guard to ensure coastal security, various Information Sharing Centers dealing with piracy issues in the region have been appraised by ICG about fishing activities off the Indian coast,” Antony said. The International Maritime Bureau`s (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre based at Kuala Lumpur has already issued such advisory for merchant vessels transiting the area to be careful about small fishing boats.

The two fishermen – Ajesh Binki (25) and Jalastein (45) – were killed on February 15 off Kollam coast when armed guards of the ship fired at their boat, suspecting it to be a vessel belonging to pirates. The two marines – Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone – were arrested on February 19 after the killings which led to a diplomatic dust up and are currently in judicial custody.