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Cyprus fishing vessel harassed by Turkish coastguard

Photo CNA

A Cypriot fishing vessel was harassed and damaged by the Turkish coast guard as it attempted to fish in international waters.

The incident was reported by the owner of Ta Psarokaika, the company which operates the vessel, the Maria-Boumboulina.

Aristos Aristidou spoke to CNA on Wednesday morning, reporting that it was the first venture “for a long time” since a serious incident in 2018 led to the seizure of another fishing vessel and the arrest of its five-member crew.

The latest incident occurred in the open waters off Apostolos Andreas on Tuesday at about 14:30 and the vessel, is now headed back to the old Limassol harbour.

“At about 16:00 [on Tuesday] they asked us to stop and eight people arrived on an inflatable boat and boarded the fishing vessel,” Aristidou said.

The crew and Aristidou were then asked a series of questions, including as to why there was a Greek flag flying from the vessel and why it had so many antennas.

“We told them that we are a European vessel and we came to fish – when we asked why they weren’t bothering the Italian ships in the area they didn’t answer and just laughed,” Aristidou said.

“At 20:30 on Tuesday we were told to leave and they drew a line on the map about two kilometres from Dherynia and claimed that it is Turkish EEZ and not to come here again, but we told them that that’s where Cyprus is,” Aristidou told CNA.

The owner of the vessel further claimed that damage was caused to the electrical system of the ship during “checks” which were carried out by the Turkish coast guard.

The fishing vessel and its crew are due back at the old Limassol harbour at 13:45.

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