Bahrain's interior ministry issued a statement on Monday accusing Qatar of seizing 15 boats with 20 sailors on board. The allegation comes against the backdrop of the ongoing diplomatic row between the two Middle Eastern countries.
According to the statement, Qatar has seized three Bahraini boats with 16 fishermen in the past two days. However, Coast Guard Commander Brigadier Ala Siyadi did not mention it in his statement as to when the other four fishermen were detained. The commander also added that some of the vessels had been detained by Qatar in 2009.
According to state news agency BNA, most of the detained fishermen hold Bahraini citizenships,
Besides affirming the importance of showing commitment to legal procedures in accordance with international conventions on maritime safety, Siyadi said that the Coast Guard was taking required steps for the release of the fishermen and the boats.
Qatar shuns Bahrain's allegations
Meanwhile, Qatar has condemned Siyadi's statement and said that they just stick to the procedures followed during violations of maritime borders. It also described the allegations levelled as a desperate attempt to escalate the ongoing diplomatic dispute.
Bahrain along with its allies, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt and Saudi Arabia, had severed ties with Qatar on June 5 citing extremist links.
The Saudi-led Gulf bloc had alleged that Qatar supports Islamist groups and is associated with terrorism and they would continue to alienate Doha until it meets demands set by the countries.
According to Gulf Times, an official source at Qatar's Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that detaining foreign vessels which enter Qatari waters was not a new procedure. The MoI also stated that despite warning the fishermen not to trawl in their waters and to stop harmful fishing practices, sailors have turned a deaf ear to them.
The report said that the sailors will be released within two days. However, the ships will be detained until the relevant court makes a decision.