SEIZED DRIFTNETTER ARRIVES IN GUAM

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APRA HARBOR, Guam (Friday, July 18, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---The 140-foot fishing vessel Cao Yu, Number 6025, which was seized by the US Coast Guard in international waters off Japan for illegal use of drift nets, has arrived in Apra Harbor,Guam.

The driftnetter was turned over Friday morning to the US National Marine Fisheries Service and the Office of the US Attorney.

The Cao Yu was boarded and seized by crews from two US Coast Guard vessels July 10, after a 10-day chase in heavy seas. After its surrender, the buoy tender Basswood, out of Guam, escorted the Cao Yu to Apra Harbor, while the cutter Chase from San Pedro, California, transported the crew members of the fishing vessel to Guam.

Found aboard the Cao Yu when it was seized were a 120-ton catch of mostly albacore turn, as well as illegal driftnets capable of being extended 12 miles.

The master of the fishing vessel told the Coast Guard that the ship's home port is Zhousan Dao Island in the People's Republic of China, but diplomatic representatives in Beijing say the vessel is not legally registered. At this point, it is considered by the Coast Guard to be a stateless vessel.

Driftnets, which can reach 35 miles or more in length and catch everything in their paths --including sea birds, sea mammals, and a variety of endangered species-- generally are outlawed by international agreements and treaties.

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