Govt Advises Indian Fishermen Against Venturing Near Iran Waters

The Indian government has advised migrant workers against taking up fishing jobs on vessels going from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, towards Iran.


The Indian government has advised migrant workers from the country against taking up fishing jobs on trawlers or vessels that are exiting from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and heading towards Iran, the News Minute reported.

The measure has been taken following incidents of arrest of many Indian fishermen from vessels after they were accused of veering off into Iranian waters. These fishermen are detained in custody at Iranian ports by the nation’s Coast Guard. It then takes a long time for them to prove that they are not in the wrong, and they are able to reach their destinations after a long duration.

According to a special advisory released by the Protector General of Emigrants, all registered recruitment agents as well as Protector of Emigrants offices in the country have been asked not to process any applications from migrant workers who are probably seeking employment in fishing vessels in the three nations, which may head in Iran’s direction.

Eight out of the 15 fishermen arrested by Iranian Coast Guard in October 2017 reached Chennai in February this year after they were held on boats for four months at Kish Island, the Times of India reported. The other fishermen continue to be detained by the Iranian authorities.

It has become a recurring issue for fishermen to land in trouble in international waters, Sister Josephine Valarmathi from the National Domestic Workers Movement was quoted by the News Minute as saying. “In some cases, it takes months to force authorities to act. And in this time, the fishermen’s families undergo a horrible situation without money and support.” Valarmathi said.

A total ban on fishing jobs, however, should not be the solution, she added. “As most of the fishermen who migrate to the Gulf are from Tamil Nadu, we have handled several such cases in the past. It’s the right of person to migrate and find a job. Government should not stop them by putting a blanket ban,” she said.

The largest number of fishermen employed in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on fishing containers hail from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, according to government figures, the report said.

There are 7,850 Indians in jails abroad, and the highest number of Indians is in Saudi Arabia prisons, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said on March 7 in Lok Sabha. The number of Indian prisoners lodged in Iran are 17 and the main reasons for their imprisonment are diesel smuggling and illegal entry into Iranian waters, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

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