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Turkish naval vessels harass Cypriot ship in international waters

Cyprus fishermen (CM archives)

TWO Turkish warships harassed a Cypriot fishing boat belonging to the company ‘Ta Psarokaika’ on Thursday, while the vessel was in international waters, company head Aristos Aristeidou told CNA.

Aristeidou said that the boat was north of the Apostolos Andreas area, 16 nautical miles away from the Turkish coast, when two warships approached it and told the captain to leave the area.

“The captain contacted me at 2 am and I told him to leave the area and go 24 nautical miles (away from the Turkish coast), and stay in international waters,” Aristeidou said.

The company’s head added that the Turkish ships approached the vessel again at 4am and threatened to tow them and arrest the crew if they did not leave.

The Turkish ships escorted the boat out of the area, and the vessel returned to the port of Limassol on Thursday afternoon.

Aristeidou, the father of Disy MP Mariella Aristeidou, said he was shocked by the incident, since his vessels have been fishing the area for years.

The incident, Aristeidou added, has been reported to the United Nations.  Asked if the boats would continue fishing in the area, he said that they would wait and see, “as the crew was scared, since they [the Turkish ships] threatened to arrest them.”

The head of the fisheries department, Marina Argyrou, was also informed of the incident, and a complaint was also filed with the foreign ministry, which is expected to file the complaint with the UN.

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