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By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, March 14) – The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a boat carrying more than 10 Asians believed to be engaged in illegal fishing in Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands waters early Saturday morning, the Saipan Tribune learned yesterday.

Theresa Neumann, Lt. Commander for the U.S. Coast Guard Guam Sector, confirmed the report, but would not give specific details as to how many persons were involved or their nationalities.

Neumann, in a telephone interview, said that on Wednesday an aircraft C13 spotted a 100-foot fishing boat within the CNMI's exclusive economic zone.

Neumann said the U.S. Coast dispatched its boat, Cutter, to the area but, because of the distance from Guam, found the boat only on Saturday, some 550 miles north of Guam.

The Coast Guard officers boarded the boat and then brought it to Saipan after they received permission from the U.S. government in Washington D.C. to seize the vessel.

The lieutenant commander refused to provide more details, saying "investigation is ongoing."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is also involved in the investigation, the Saipan Tribune was told.

March 14, 2006

Saipan Tribune

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