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UAE ‘intercepted and hijacked’ Qatar fishing boat

March 9, 2018 at 11:13 am

People hold placards during a protest against the Saudi-UAE led aggression on Qatar [Isabel Infantes/Anadolu Agency]

Qatar has told the UN that an Emirati naval vessel “intercepted and hijacked” a Qatari fishing boat earlier this year, the Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported today.

According to QNA, Alia Ahmed bin Saif Al Thani, Qatar’s permanent representative to the UN, has sent a letter to this effect to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN Security Council President Karel van Oosterom.

In her letter, Al Thani alleges that on 19 January Qatar’s maritime surveillance system had observed an Emirati military vessel trespass into Qatari territorial waters.

The letter goes on to state that the vessel had later “intercepted and hijacked” a Qatari fishing boat carrying seven fishermen and a captain, all of whom are Indian nationals.

The fishing boat was then forced “at gunpoint” to enter Emirati territorial waters, according to the letter, which goes on to describe the alleged incident as “a dangerous precedent and a violation of international norms”.

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“Qatar strongly condemns this act by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which constitutes a violation of international laws and conventions,” the letter reads.

It goes on to hold the UAE “responsible for the safety and security of the fishing crew” and calls on the international community to demand that Abu Dhabi “abide by and respect international principles and conventions, release the crew and return all seized property”.

The QNA report comes one day after Al Jazeera reported that an Emirati military transport plane had penetrated Qatari airspace without permission earlier this week.

In June last year, the UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt in an economic and political boycott of Qatar who they accused of supporting terrorism. Doha denies the claims and says its sovereignty is under attack.