Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards have detained a Saudi Arabian fishing boat and arrested its crew, Reuters reports citing Iran's judiciary’s website Mizan reported on Friday.
A local official at the Iranian port city of Bushehr told Mizan that the reason for the detention was under investigation, although subsequent reports suggested that the crew was detained for "illegally fishing" in Iran's territorial waters.
“Yesterday, the coast guards deployed in the country’s Southern waters came to spot two vessels in Iran’s protected waters in the South using electronic and optic tools and equipment,” Commander of Bushehr province Coast Guards Qalandar Lashkari said, according to Fars news agency.
Lashkari added that the Iranian coast guards rushed to the scene and were faced with two vessels which were illegally fishing in the Iranian waters under the Saudi flag.
Noting that 9 sailors were arrested thereafter, Lashkari said further investigation showed that the 9 people are nationals of different countries.
Earlier in 2018, IRGC forces seized another Saudi vessel and its four-strong crew after it illegally entered Iranian waters. The vessel was later expelled. In a reciprocal event on January 3, Saudi Arabia detained 21 Iranian nationals who were aboard two boats near al-Harqus Island 42 miles (78 km) off the Saudi coast, the Saudi border guard said.
Iranian media reported last year that Saudi border guards had opened fire on Iranian fishing boats in the Gulf, killing a fisherman and arresting three others. Saudi Arabia said the vessel was carrying explosives, an allegation Iran denied.