Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty met Wednesday with Fishermen’s Syndicate head Ahmed Nassar, to tackle the situation of Egyptian fishermen detained abroad.
Nassar requested that the ministry intervene to help release a fishing boat named ‘Hadj Galal’, which is currently detained in Tunisia, and the boat ‘Princess Mona’ that is under Libyan custody.
Following the meeting, the syndicate head told Daily News Egypt that ‘Hadj Galal’ was seized in the Tunisian city of Sfax during Eid Al-Fitr. A total of 17 fishermen were detained alongside the boat’s seizure and were charged with unlicenced fishing inside Tunisian territorial waters.
“The other fishing boat was detained few days before Ramadan [mid-June] and one of the fishermen was shot dead,” Nassar said.
He added that 15 fishermen of the ‘Princess Mona’ are now detained in the Libyan city of Misrata on the same charges.
Nassar expressed his appreciation to the role the ministry plays and its efforts to help release seized boats in neighbouring countries. He also highlighted that tough economic conditions force fishermen to work in territorial waters of neighbouring countries, according to a ministry statement.
Meanwhile, Abdelatty said the ministry had issued numerous statements that warn against entering and fishing in the territorial waters of neighbouring countries.
The meeting included communications with Egypt’s ambassadors to Tunisia and Libya to contact the relevant authorities and help resolve the situation.
In April, 106 fishermen, the majority of them from Al-Matariya in the Daqahleya governorate, were detained by the Sudanese authorities. They were on board three fishing boats that were heading to Eritrea, according to the independent fishermen association in Al-Matariya.
The fishermen were arrested on grounds of infiltrating Sudanese territorial waters, which the fishermen claim did not happen. The Port Sudan Court sentenced the fishermen to between one and six months in prison, in addition to a fine of 5,000 Sudanese pounds (EGP 6,636), followed by a two-year prison sentence for not paying the fines.
The Sudanese authorities announced in June the suspension of the sentences against the fishermen. However, they were not released and they are awaiting a new trial on Tuesday.
The fishermen’s relatives demanded Al-Sisi’s “immediate intervention to do what is needed to release those poor fishermen and get them back home”.