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British navy releases 14 Indian fishermen

The British navy has released a fishing boat with a crew of 14 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Kerala which was apprehended near Diego Garcia island in the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Fisheries officials in Chennai confirmed that the British navy had released the boat - Greeshma - which was apprehended on December 5 for violating the borders.

"We received information about their release, and they are sailing back home. The fishers allege that there are eight more boats in the custody of the British navy. However, we could not confirm the report. We are optimistic that the British navy will release other fishermen soon," a senior official at the fisheries department said.

"We are glad that they are released. We pray for their safe sail back home," said the boat owner, K Tito of the Chinnathurai coastal hamlet.

P Justin Antony of Tamil Nadu Fishermen Development Trust thanked the efforts of the state and central governments to get the fishermen released.

Among the 14 fishermen, eight belonged to Chinnathurai hamlet, one was from Thoothoor village (both villages in Kanyakumari), two were from Rameswaram and three were from Kerala. The boat sailed from Kochi on November 21.

Fishers in Thoothoor fear that eight more boats and nearly 90 fishermen were still in the British navy's custody.
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