New Delhi: The Coast Guard has taken into custody 88 Myanmarese poachers, along with seven of their boats, inside Indian waters near the Andaman islands during the last one month.
"Of these, as many as 60 poachers were apprehended in the last one week by the Coast Guard Ship Aruna Asaf Ali," Defence Ministry officials said here. The poachers, who ventured into India from Myanmar`s Coco Islands which is only 26 miles from the Indian territorial waters, were apprehended in two different operations, they said.
Under the first exercise held from September 18-20, the ship apprehended 36 poachers from three different boats. "On September 18, the ship detected suspicious movement
of two boats, of which one tried to slip away taking advantage of darkness... It was only after a high speed chase and warning shots that the poachers on the second boat also surrendered," they said.
On September 22, Aruna Asaf Ali carried out another operation in which two more boats were detained along with 24 poachers on board.
"All the apprehended boats, carrying sufficient fuel and provisions to sustain at sea for prolonged duration, were equipped with diving equipment," they added.
Officials said the success in apprehending the poachers have been achieved following heightened surveillance and vigil by the ICG ships, helicopters and Dornier surveillance
aircraft along the Andaman archipelago.
The poachers are tempted to enter Indian Exclusive Economic Zone by the rich underwater wealth including Sea Cucumber, Molluscs and Corals available in the North Andaman Sea.
"The smuggling of Molluscs and Sea Cucumber, which have high medicinal and aphrodisiac value, is rampant due to its high prices in the international market," they added.