KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon/Marianas Variety, Feb. 19) - The Division of Marine Law Enforcement has seized a Taiwanese fishing vessel, together with its eight-member crew, for fishing illegally in Palau waters.

The captain and one of the crew are Taiwanese, while the rest are Filipinos. The vessel, Ching Chuen Fa No. 76, is a 50-foot longliner, Justice Minister Michael J. Rosenthal said.

He said the vessel was seized in possession of eight tons of fish 75 nautical miles southwest of Hatohobei State.

The longliner was boarded by commanding officer Ian Olblai Tervet and his men—Allen Maldangesang, Dominic Kyota, Maximo Marcello, Collins Takeo, Bennet Mengloi, Serafin Akiwo and Sunray Meluat.

Three of the officers remained on the longliner for the three-day trip to escort the vessel to the Marine Law Enforcement dock in Koror.

The Office of the Attorney General filed criminal charges against the captain and crew for unlawful fishing and unlawful entry. Unlawful fishing carries a maximum $50,000 fine and unlawful entry a maximum $500 fine and two years imprisonment. Upon motion of the government, the court ordered the sale of the fish.

The remaining fish were donated to Belau National Hospital, the Ministry of Education, Palau Community College and the Koror jail.

Rosenthal commended the excellent performance of the officers and crew of the Marine Law Enforcement Division.

Rosenthal said he is hopeful that the criminal case against the captain and crew of the longliner will proceed quickly and that the actions of the division will help deter other foreign ships from illegally fishing in Palau’s exclusive economic zone.

February 19, 2003

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