On 30 April, an Azeri fisherman was killed and three others in his boat were detained by Kazakh border guards in the Caspian Sea. An initial report from Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee mentioned that a Kazakh marine patrol boat sighted an unidentified vessel in territorial waters off the Mangistau region during a nocturnal patrol; the unidentified vessel apparently ignored visual and audio signals from the Kazakh coast guard to stop, instead increasing its speed. The report concluded that the Kazakh patrol opened fire on the engine and detained four individuals, providing first aid to two as a result of injuries from the ricochet of projectiles. No mention of the individuals being Azeri citizens were made in this official statement, something subsequently clarified by Azeri authorities.
Kazakh news portal Zakon.kz and Azeri daily Haqqin.az provided further details on the incident. The first one affirmed that the detained were citizens of Azerbaijan and that the body of the deceased remained in the Kazakh port of Aktau for repatriation; furthermore, the Azeri Foreign Ministry delivered a note of protest to the Kazakh embassy in Baku, stressing their concerns for the death and injuries of its citizen.
The above-mentioned Azeri daily gave further insight, albeit limited in scope, about the first of the individuals being tried by a Kazakh court, initially detained for two months.
According to the information from the mentioned sources, one can conclude that of the four individuals, one was killed and two injured, while the fourth is currently awaiting trial. Such incidents are not common in the Caspian Sea, which for a little over two decades remained an apple of discord between the neighbouring countries for a final status of the large body of water. In 2001, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan signed an agreement delineating territorial waters through a half-way distance clause, nonetheless, similar incidents remain concerning.
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