New Delhi: Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has apprehended four Myanmarese poachers fishing illegally in Indian waters off Barren Island, the Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday.

As per the official release, In the early hours of Sunday (May 2), ICG ship Rajshree, during a routine patrol in the area, sighted one boat operating off Barren Island close to the coast. The ICG ship tried to establish communication with the boat, however, the boat did not respond.

"Instead, the poachers carried out forced ditching of their boat on the rocky shores of Barren and tried to flee into the Island. The manoeuvre by the ICG boarding party resulted in the apprehension of two poachers, while others managed to escape into the dense forest on the island," the Ministry said.

"The boarding party also recovered fish catch, including sea cucumber, turtle skull and conch shells from the ditched boat. Two of the missing poachers were apprehended a day later on Monday (May 3). The apprehended poachers were handed over to local police at Port Blair on Tuesday (May 04) for further investigation," it added.

It is suspected that some of the poachers were still hiding in the dense forest on Barren Island. The ICG, in coordination with local police, is carrying out a joint search operation for the missing poachers.

Notably, this is the second apprehension by ICG in 10 days. Despite challenges posed by COVID-19, ICG ships and aircraft are on patrol 24x7, monitoring activities in Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to thwart any nefarious activity in Maritime Zones of India.