November 13, 2020
Yemen’s caretaker minister of fishery, Fahd Kafayn, said Thursday that Yemeni naval forces stopped an Iranian vessel off the coast of the Mahrah governorate in the southeast.
Kafayn wrote on his Twitter account that the Iranian vessel was seized on Thursday morning while on an illegal fishing mission.
The Global Fishing Watch and the Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT) that provide information and analyses on fisheries to combat illegal fishing, said in a report released end of June that nearly 200 Iranian vessels were detected doing illegal fishing in Somali and Yemeni waters.
The report said that Iran uses Yemen and Somalia low maritime security to practice one of the world’s largest illegal fishing operations.
Yemen’s government has frequently accused Iran of using fishing ships in Yemeni territorial waters to cover its smuggling of arms, ballistic missiles and drones to the Tehran-backed Houthi group.
Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani had said the report proves that during the 2019-2020 fishing season, a 192-strong Iranian fleet was illegally operating in the Northwest Indian Ocean, including 144 in Yemeni waters with what appears to be behavior consistent with fishing activity.
Previous Yemeni reports said that the Yemeni authorities have seized 13 Iranian vessels inside Yemeni territorial waters over the past three years, including nine ships seized in the Socotra archipelago.
The vessels are among the 43 ships that illegally entered Yemeni waters and practiced various prohibited activities during 2016.
The legitimate government had several times seized ships loaded with arms on their way to the Houthi militias, and other vessels engaged in prohibited activities under the cover of fishing.
In previous statements, Eryani said the prohibited activities of vessels represented a blatant attack on Yemeni fisheries and water, adding that the legitimate government, in coordination with the Arab coalition and through diplomatic channels, was and continues to face these Iranian aggressions.