(MENAFN - Arab News) A spokesman for the Saudi Coast Guard in the Eastern Province has confirmed news reports that two fishing boats from Saudi Arabia were seized by Iran.
Speaking to Arab News, Khaled Al-Arqubi said: "They were fishing vessels " Fishermen do lose their way in the high sea because of sudden change in wind direction and weather " They then find themselves in a foreign country; this is quite normal."
According to him, there is a general convention to deal with such issues. "The intruding boats are seized, investigated and then released," Al-Arqubi said. "This can and does happen to any vessel in the Arabian Gulf."
He said a similar procedure was applied when two Iranian boats crossed into Saudi waters last week. "We seized the boats, arrested the men on board, investigated them and then released them all," he said.
Iranian news agency Fars quoted Qalandar Lashkari, the Iranian coast guard commander at Bushehr, as saying that the two dhows were tracked and confiscated after they illegally entered Iran's territorial waters. Their 10 crew members were arrested, it said.
"The vessels are from Saudi Arabia but their captains and crew are Indians," said Fars.