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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Qatar seizes Bahraini boat, arrests crew for breaching territorial waters: reports


Two Asian nationals from a Bahraini boat crew face legal action for trespassing into Qatari territorial waters.

Qatari authorities reportedly intercepted and seized a Bahraini boat for breaching Doha’s territorial waters, Bahrain’s Coast Guard Command said in a statement on Friday.

According to Bahraini media, Qatari Coastline Security General Directorate sent  a fax to the Naval Operations Centre of Coast Guard on Thursday to inform them of the confiscation of a Bahraini boat for illegally entering Qatari territorial waters.

The fax said Qatar is also taking legal action against two Asian nationals onboard after arresting them and seizing the boat, News of Bahrain reported.

Read also: Qatar-Bahrain territorial dispute erupts online as ownership claims resurface on Twitter

The Bahrain Coast Guard Command said it is “taking necessary legal measures” to respond to the incident.

Qatar has yet to publicly comment on the latest developments.

Ongoing tensions

Bahrain was among a quartet that imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar in 2017. While the dispute came to an end with the signing of the Al Ula Declaration earlier this year, tensions between Manama and Doha have continued.

In February, a Bahraini official made the first diplomatic visit to Qatar since the blockade to deliver an official invitation for talks to resolve pending issues between the two Gulf states.

While the visit signalled a step towards officially restoring ties, recent developments suggest friction remains.

Bahrain has repeatedly breached Qatari territorial waters and airspace and has seized 130 properties reportedly belonging to relatives of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani over the past year.

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 neighbour which was eventually resolved by the International Court of Justice in 2001.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, there has been no news regarding trade nor an update of policies between Bahrain and Qatar as of yet.

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