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185 seized foreign vessels to be released

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Fisheries Minister Douglas Dewananda said that steps will be taken to release 185 foreign vessels, including Indian vessels, which were seized by authorities for breaching Sri Lankan maritime boundaries.

The Minister said this during a meeting with representatives of the Sri Lanka Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association, which is engaged in fishing in international seas.

The Minister said the vessels will be released by the end of this month.

The Minister pointed out that due to technical issues such as power shutdowns, there are times when the monitoring devices installed on the vessel run out of power, and in such cases, it is accepted that the maritime boundaries may be violated. He said those vessels will be released. The Minister however warned that if vessels of other countries continue to encroach on the maritime boundaries of Sri Lanka, all those vessels will be confiscated.

He also stated that the laws will be amended so that severe punishments can be given to those who navigate such vessels. The Minister said that monitoring of all deep sea fishing vessels in Sri Lanka through VMS systems has been expanded according to international law.

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