Kuwait seizes 3 Iraqi boats and 26 fishermen

Kuwait seizes 3 Iraqi boats and 26 fishermen

Kuwait on Tuesday seized three Iraqi boats with 26 fishermen on board for fishing in the emirate’s territorial waters a day after releasing seven Iraqis, an official statement said.

The coastguard seized the boats as they fished illegally inside Kuwaiti territorial waters, the interior ministry said in a statement.

It said the men were referred to the security agencies for investigation.

On Monday, Kuwait handed over to Iraqi authorities seven fishermen who were arrested a day earlier after entering the emirate’s territorial waters.

Seizing Iraqi fishing boats and arresting fishermen for crossing into Kuwaiti waters has become common in the past few months.

Iraqi fishermen have repeatedly complained of harassment by Kuwaiti and Iranian coastguards, but Kuwait maintains they are detained only when they enter its territorial waters.

A Kuwaiti coastguard was killed in January 2011 in a shoot-out with Iraqi sailors inside the emirate’s territorial waters. Iraqi authorities said three fishermen were wounded in the incident and four others went missing.