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Taiwanese vessel faces huge fine for illegal fishing


The vessel cannot leave the port of Majuro until the case is settled. (Photo: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

MARSHALL ISLANDS
Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 03:20 (GMT + 9)
A Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel faces several charges and a hefty fine for illegal fishing in Marshall Islands waters and for obstructing the work of fisheries observers.
The police and Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) enforcement officers arrested Jih Yu 212 fishing vessel, its master and radio operator.
The vessel belongs to Taiwan-based Chern Lung Fisheries Co. Ltd, which will have to deal with a maximum fine of USD 6.5 million if found guilty.
Tion Nabau, the fisheries department's attorney filed nine charges against the company and fishing officers, four of which for fishing without license, and five for obstructing the observers' task.
On the 1 and 2 January, the boat was spotted through the vessel monitoring system while it was preparing a ship aggregation device to fish.
It was finally detained last week after a court ordered its search and arrest by the police and marine authority enforcement officers, Radio New Zealand informed.
It was then confirmed that the Jih Yu 212 had been fishing within the country's 200-mile exclusive economic zone with an expired license.
In addition, MIMRA observers stated they were prevented from doing their job by the ship radio operator, who denied them the possibility to enter the bridge on the vessel and check the logbook.
When the vessel was searched in Majuro, the ship's logbook could not be found.
The crew was released, but the ship cannot leave Majuro until the case is settled.
An initial hearing is scheduled in the High Court for 17 February.
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