PH authorities apprehend Chinese fishermen off Batanes
The Philippine Coast Guard together with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources apprehended two Chinese fishing vessels poaching in Philippine waters on the afternoon of May 16, BFAR said in a statement today.
The coast guard and BFAR were patrolling the waters between Babuyan Island and Batanes province when they spotted the Chinese fishing vessels Shen Lian Cheng 719 and Shen Lian Cheng 720.
The BFAR said the fishing vessels were flying the Philippine flag within Philippine waters but the red portion of the flag was on top instead of the blue.
“Based on existing rules, the fact that both foreign fishing vessels were flying Philippine flag gave rise to the presumption that they are engaged in poaching, as there seems to be an attempt to conceal the vessels’ true identity to enable themselves to engage in fishing activity in Philippine waters,” agriculture undersecretary for fisheries Atty. Asis. G. Perez said in a statement.
“We will ensure, however, that the incident will be thoroughly investigated following proper procedures.”
According to the BFAR, Shen Lian Cheng 719 had 12 crew members and Shen Lian Cheng 720 had 13.
The documents from both vessels inspected by authorities show that both are registered with the People’s Republic of China and had no authorization to fish in Philippine waters.
Perez said the BFAR already coordinated with the foreign affairs department to provide them with official interpreters in Basco, Batanes and to formally notify China of the incident. (Eileen A. Mencias)