The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Ship, Samudra Prahari apprehended two Sri Lankan trawlers – Holy Cross III and VI along with 29 Lankan nationals in Lakshadweep waters for poaching endangered marine species and sea cucumber, the New Indian Express reported.
In a swift air-sea coordinated search, these fishing boats were located 18 Nautical Miles (approximately 35 km) west of Chereapani Reef in Lakshadweep islands on Saturday. Thereafter, both the boats were apprehended by ICGS Samudra Prahari 40 Nautical Miles (approximately 72 km from Chereapani reef) after a hot pursuit.
At 8 pm on October 23, a message was received from the Police Control Room, Kavaratti, through the Coast Guard District Headquarters at Kavarati regarding sighting of two unknown fishing boats by local fishermen off Chereapani Reef.
Immediately, the coast guard vessel on routine patrol in L&M island was diverted for search and located the fishing boats. Simultaneously, the coast guard aircraft was launched from Kochi for air-sea coordinated search on Saturday morning.
After hot pursuit and firing of warning shots both Sri Lankan fishing boats were prevented from fleeing and apprehended off Chereapani Reef. The boats were in possession of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 kg of Sea Cucumber each, an endangered species under the Schedule-I of the Wildlife Act, 1972.
The 29 Lankan poachers were taken into custody. This is the first such poaching incident in 2015. (Colombo Gazette)