KUWAIT CITY, March 10: The Coast Guard General Department has ‘quarantined’ 123 Kuwaiti fishing boats at the Doha port along with their crews for 14 days after they were caught buying ‘Zubaidi’ fish from Iranian boats, in clear violation of the decision issued by the Council of Ministers to stop dealing with Iran which included ‘boycotting’ Iranian foodstuff following the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran in big numbers, reports Al-Rai daily.
The daily has learned from reliable sources that the boats are ordered to be anchored at the port in Doha and the port will provide food, water and other needs to the fishermen through the fishermen’s union during the quarantine period.
However, the president of the Kuwait Fishermen’s Union, Zahir Al-Suwayyan, denied the boats had bought the Iranian Zubaidi from Iranian boats at sea, asserting all 116 fishermen on board the boats are Asians (Indians) and were fishing in Kuwait’s territorial waters in line with the Amiri Decree 317/2014 and were fishing under the watchful eyes of the Kuwait Navy boats which patrol the maritime border.
Al-Suwayyan added some Kuwaiti boats enter the Umm Al-Maradem and Doha to fish in Kuwait’s territorial waters 12 nautical miles from the Kuwaiti islands and this way they remain within the sight of the Kuwaiti Coast Guard.
However, fishing in these areas is subject to the control of Kuwait’s marine forces. “This time, when all the fishing boats returned to Umm Al-Maradem Port, as usual, the Coast Guard patrols seized the boats and referred them to the Doha port and detained them there,” he added.
Al-Suwayyan has called for checking the fish in seized boats to ascertain for sure if they actually bought zubaidi from Iranian boats, and if anyone is found guilty should be punished instead of collective punishment especially since the Coast Guard has the resources to keep a strict eye on what is happening within the Kuwaiti marine territory.
He added, “The seizure of this number of boats and ordering them ‘quarantined’ at the Doha port is unjustified, because the situation is problematic, because of the lack of food supplies to them, however, the Union has provided food supplies to all men on board.”