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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Bahrain violates Qatar’s territorial waters for second time in less than a month

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Coastguards spotted and stopped  a Bahraini fishing boat that breached its territorial waters, the Ministry of Interior announced on Saturday.

Qatari authorities reported that three sailors on a Bahraini vessel who trespassed into its waters were arrested by coastguards. 

The interception of the Bahraini boat was made in the “Fasht al-Dibel” area, 1.3 nautical miles within Qatari waters.

The violation was spotted amidst routine monitoring by security forces protecting Doha’s water borders.

Read also: Bahrain claims Doha ‘violated’ GCC agreement for stopping two boats breaching Qatar’s territorial waters

One of the three arrested people was a Bahraini national and the other two were nationals of an unspecified Asian country.

In November, Bahrain accused Qatari marine units of violating “regional and international agreements” after they stopped two Bahraini boats inside Qatari waters. However, the interception was due to an unnotified breach of Qatari territorial waters. The Qatari Coast Guard and Border Security department attempted to contact Bahrain’s operations room to inquire about the reported breach but were initially unable to reach them. Decisions by Qatari authorities were then taken accordingly.

Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar since June 2017 over their claim that the state of Qatar is too close to Iran and groups associated with terrorism in the Middle East. Qatar has always denied the charges. The blockading countries have also banned aircrafts, maritime vessels, and any locally-registered vehicles from crossing Qatari territories. 

Read also: A deal may be imminent but how long will it take to rebuild trust within the GCC?

In the early days of the diplomatic and economic embargo, Qatari marine units seized 15 Bahraini fishing boats, for operating illegally in their waters according to officials.

On the other hand, Qatar Airways has been forced for three years now to shift its routes so it does not fly through  any of the blockading countries’ airspace. 

Historically, Qatar and Bahrain had a deep-rooted territorial contention over the waters and small islands that separate the peninsula from the main islands of its maritime neighbor which was eventually resolved by the International Court of Justice in 2001.


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