Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Saudi Coast Guard arrested 21 Iranian nationals on Wednesday inside Saudi territorial waters, 42 miles off the eastern coast of the country.
Colonel Khaled Khalifa Al-Arqubi, spokesman for the Eastern Province Coast Guard issued a statement revealing that the Iranian “intruders” were on two boats and intercepted by naval patrol near al-Harqus Island approximately 42 miles off the al-Khafji coast. He said “one of the marine patrols was able to seize two Iranian boats on Wednesday inside Saudi regional waters. One of the boats had 12 people and the other nine people … all of them are Iranians and are being questioned.”
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Saudi Coast Guard spokesman revealed that advanced technology and radar is used to monitor any violation of Saudi Arabian territorial waters. He added that the Iranian intruders seem to be fishermen, but further investigations must be conducted to confirm their identities and discover whether they had previously entered the country or not.
Colonel Al-Arqubi clarified that he is monitoring some of the points in the investigation, including the possibility of fishermen seeking refuge on al-Harqus Island in the event of tidal surges or equipment malfunction. He stressed the importance of fishermen paying attention to and abiding by international maritime territorial divisions.