India tells Chinese vessels to sail to Iran at the earliest

Ahmedabad: India advised Chinese fishing vessels, which took shelter at Diu off the Gujarat coast, to undertake their passage to Iran at the earliest, according to a statement issued by the Defence Public Relations Officer here today.

"Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (China) and the Chinese vessels have been advised to undertake passage to Iran at the earliest. The position update and movement of vessels are being monitored by Headquarters of the Coast Guard (North West) Region," a statement from Defence PRO at Ahmedabad said.

Earlier, Indian Coast Guard authorities had said that Chinese fishing trawlers took shelter at Diu, after they were unable to sail due to bad sea conditions.

However, today's Defence Public Relations Officer's statement stated that around ten Chinese ocean fishing vessels took shelter at Diu and Madhvad Bay, off the Gujarat coast.

According to the statement, China's MRCC had requested a safe shelter to Chinese fishing vessels when they were around 95 nautical miles from Mumbai.

Earlier, an Indian Coast Guard maritime reconnaissance aircraft sortie had reported sighting of these Chinese ocean fishing vessels off the Kerala coast, it said.

Later, the Indian authorities allowed the Chinese vessels to take shelter at Diu, it said.

Preliminary investigations revealed that these vessels as well as crew are "genuine" and sought shelter due to adverse sea conditions, it said.

"ICGS Vijit (an Indian Coast Guard Service vessel) commenced investigation of each of these (Chinese) vessels to ascertain their intentions," it said.

An Indian Coast Guard helicopter from Porbandar was launched today to assist ICGS Vijit in boarding operations and investigation of these Chinese fishing vessels, it said.

The Chinese vessels were also been advised to keep their Automatic Identification System (AIS) switched on at all times.

The Chinese vessels would also have to keep reporting the position of their vessels on a daily basis, it said.

The Chinese vessels would have to submit Pre Arrival Notifications (PANs) data and also appoint local agents, it said, adding that these vessels would also have to declare their next port of call.

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