CAIRO: A total of 11 out of 14 Egyptian fishermen were released after being held by Tunisian coast guards for illegally fishing within territorial waters, state-run news agency MENA quoted a Monday statement by the Egyptian Embassy in Tunisia.
The fishermen, originally from Delta’s governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh, were on board a boat named “Abu Hamada” when they were arrested on April 27.
The embassy has issued travel papers for the released Egyptians, who are expected to arrive in Egypt Tuesday, according to the statement. It also added that the embassy is negotiating with Tunisian authorities to release the captain, the two remaining fishermen and the seized boat.
Ahmed Nassar, the head of the Fishermen Syndicate, denied the claims that the fishermen have breached Tunisian waters, calling on authorities to interfere to release the fishermen, according to Youm7 on May 1.
Dozens of Egyptian fishermen have been arrested by coast guards in Sudan, Libya and Tunisia in similar incidents; many were successfully released and returned home, while others are facing trials.
In late February a group of 15 Egyptian fishermen were released after being detained for eight months in Libya. They were arrested by an Islamist Libyan armed group, according to previous statements by Nassar.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly warned fishermen against working in the territorial waters of neighboring countries with armed conflicts, and not to pursue any activities in their territorial waters without prior permission.