In a bid to prevent fishermen from this region crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and entering Sri Lankan waters, Indian Coast Guard station here has intensified patrol besides launching awareness campaigns, an official said today. The coastguard station, with an operational area comprising the stretch between Kodiakarai in neighbouring Nagapattinam District and Kollidam, has stepped up vigil along the IMBL to prevent the fishermen from crossing the borders and face arrest by Sri Lankan Navalmen, Coast Guard Inspector Kathiresan said. "A Coast Guard vessel has undertaken patrol near the IMBL and with the help of powerful maritime telescopes.
Fishermen crossing the IMBL are monitored. They will be intercepted and sent back home," he said. Details about boats of erring fishermen will be immediately communicated to the respective District Collectors for further action. Arrests of fishermen and attacks on them allegedly by Sri Lankan Naval personnel has been a major issue in Tamil Nadu. Commander of Karaikal Coastguard station Commandant Udhal Singh has instructed the maritime agency personnel to carry out awareness campaigns and interactive sessions with fishermen in the coastal areas. Speaking at an interactive session at Vanagiri hamlet near here today, Kathiresan said the IMBL was situated at a distance of 15 knots off Kodiakarai and 55 knots off Nagapattinam and Karaikal. The Coastguard patrol would also help safeguard the fishermen from the attacks by foreign elements. The Indian fishermen should sport the country's national flag on their boats and registration numbers should be printed legibly. The fishermen could contact the Coastguard anytime for emergency assistance, he said.