The Royal Thai Navy has protested an incident on Saturday near a disputed island in the Andaman Sea where Burmese naval forces allegedly opened fire on a Thai fishing boat that had strayed into Burmese territorial waters.
According to the Bangkok Post, the Third Naval Area Command, which oversees Thai territories on the Andaman Sea, sent the protest after an urgent meeting of the Thai-Myanmar General Border Committee to discuss the incident.
Thai media said the crew of 14 – which may have included some Burmese nationals – jumped overboard into the sea after the fishing vessel came under fire. The crewmen were reportedly recovered from the sea by a Thai navy ship stationed nearby, however the vessel has now been impounded and its captain held in custody in the Burmese port of Kawthaung.
Thai authorities and the boat owner have asked Burmese officers to return the boat but to no avail, said the Bangkok Post.
Ranong Fishery Association chairman Surin Losong, who is also the owner of the trawler, said he was confident that his boat was not fishing in Burmese territory, according to a report by Thailand’s MCOT.
The incident comes just three days after Burma’s commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing led a delegation of some 20 military officers to talks in Bangkok with his Thai counterpart Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn who headed a team of 40 officers from the Thai defence forces.
On 17 September, Min Aung Hlaing was quoted in the Thai press as saying that relations between Thailand and Burma are at their most cordial in the two countries’ history at a meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House in Bangkok.