By Basma Mohammed
FISHERMEN have demanded authorities increase sea patrols near Iranian waters following the shooting of a Bahrain-based sailor, who was held captive along with five others by pirates.
Bangladeshi Mobarak Abdul Sattar, 33, was shot twice when four armed pirates attacked Bahraini dhow Loloat Alorais, held its crew members captive for around eight hours and robbed the vessel on Monday.
The other sailors were Bahraini Khalil Ibrahim Khalil and Bangladeshis Raju Ahmed Miah, Sharif Hossain Asabuddin, Robu Shamsul Hoque and Khorshed Alam Meah.
They were off the coast of Bahrain when two pirate boats intercepted them, forced them to anchor and towed the vessel to Iranian waters.
Fishermen’s Protection Society president Jassim Al Jeran has demanded the Coastguard dispatch round-the-clock security to protect Bahraini seafarers.
“This is not new, Bahraini dhows have been attacked by pirates before,” he told the GDN yesterday.
“They lurk near the border between Bahraini and Iranian waters and attack whoever comes there.”
“They (dhows) cannot run away and are then forced to stop.
“The pirates usually steal their catch – any valuables and fishing equipment – before fleeing the scene.
“We hope after this incident more sea patrols are enforced.
“Perhaps we should even have them patrol the area 24 hours to ensure the safety of fishermen.”
Mr Al Jeran revealed the majority of Bahraini dhows that are attacked sail from the North East of the country and have professional fishermen who navigate into deep waters.
“They usually place their nets to catch Hammour and bigger fish,” added Mr Al Jeran.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa yesterday emphasised the importance of safeguarding the security and safety of territorial waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Shaikh Khalid described the incident as “unacceptable,” adding that the dhow was sailing in the Arabian Gulf and not in the Gulf of Aden.
“We’re waiting for complete details on this issue in order to take what’s appropriate action in this regard,” he said.
He was speaking following the inaugural session of the 16th GCC Supreme Council’s Advisory Body meeting held in Bahrain.
The GDN reported yesterday that the pirates boarded the vessel and shot one of the sailors in the shoulder, before ransacking it and releasing the men.
Officials said the incident happened 60 nautical miles north of Bahrain.
The Coastguard has advised all seafarers to sail in permitted fishing grounds in regional waters.
In December 2009, the GDN reported that Radio Bahrain’s David Bloomer and four British sailors were arrested by Iranian authorities after straying into their waters.
Mr Bloomer and fellow Britons Oliver Smith, Sam Usher, Luke Porter and Oliver Young had been on their way to Dubai for the start of the Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race 2009 when a propeller problem is thought to have caused the Sail Bahrain yacht to drift into Iranian waters. They were released after a week. firstname.lastname@example.org