Yemeni fishermen freed from pirates after three months captivity

21 Feb
Somali pirates caught by the HMS Cornwall. The Yemeni boat and its crew were captured in November 2010. (AFP)
Malak Shaher
Yemen Times
Yemen Times
Published:21-02-2011
SANA’A, Feb. 20 — The British navy rescued five Yemeni fishermen, kidnapped three months ago by pirates, the Yemeni Ministry of Defense announced on their website.The British warship, HMS Cornwall handed the crew over to the Coast Guard Authority (CGA) in Al-Mukalla on the Arabian Sea on Feb.9 after they were found in the Indian Ocean.HMS Cornwall’s commanding officer, Commander David Wilkinson, said: “Our presence in the area has had a hugely significant effect on the lives of five Yemeni fishermen, who have been freed from over three months of pirate captivity and can now return to their families,” according to the Daily Mail news website.A South Korean merchant vessel spotted the Somali dhow acting suspiciously in the Indian Ocean and alerted HMS Cornwall.

According to Al-Mahdi, head of the CGA operational unit, the fishermen told them that they were used by the pirates as human shields and had been using their vessel as a mother ship to conduct piracy operations.

The ministry noted that guns, seized from the pirates, were handed over to the Yemeni authorities. The boat, Al-Hobaishi, was also handed over with its crew. The navy is still holding the pirates and rocket-propelled grenades used to attack ships.

Egyptian fishing boat caught illegally fishing in Yemeni waters

The Yemeni Coast Guard Authority and the Marine Navy Forces last week caught an Egyptian boat, fishing illegally in Yemeni waters in the Red Sea.

According to Shuja’ Al-Deen Al-Mahdi, head of the Coast Guard Authority operational unit in Sana’a, the 37m vessel was carrying tons of fish when its 23 crew when captured. The crew was handed over to Yemeni authorities in Hodeida and the vessel – the Taj Al-Islam or Crown of Islam – impounded under the control of the Ministry of Fisheries.

Al-Mahdi said that this was not the first time Egyptian boats had been caught illegally fishing in Yemeni waters in the Red sea. Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Abdulla Ba-Sanabel said Egyptian fishermen are being tried by a court in Hodeida and can face fines from USD 50,000 or seizure of their vessel by the Yemeni authorities.

According to Ba-Sanabel, the Ministry of Fisheries stopped granting fishing licenses in the Red Sea to non-Yemeni fishermen in 2010, because of damage to the marine environment.

“The Ministry of Fishery has stopped granting any vessels the right to fish in the Red Sea in order to grant the marine creatures a biological rest,” Ba-Sanabel told the Yemen Times.

The Yemeni Ministry of Fisheries still allows vessels to fish in the waters of the Arabian Sea with limits on distance and range. It has stopped fishing in the Red Sea in preparation for it to become a naturally preserved marine area.

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