PNG SEIZES TWO INDONESIAN FISHING BOATS

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 5) – The National Fisheries’ enforcement unit and police have seized two Indonesian fishing boats for allegedly fishing illegally in waters off Daru in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province.

The boats, with 26 passengers on board, were reported to have left Daru yesterday under the close watch by NFA officials and police and is expected to arrive in Port Moresby today.

Western police commander Kerry John said the first boat, carrying 10 Indonesians, was spotted by a surveillance team on Tuesday morning fishing inside PNG waters and another with 16 passengers on board was sighted yesterday.

He said police and the NFA officials responded promptly and seized the boats.

Mr John said he still had in custody in Daru police cells, 21 Indonesians, who were previously caught for illegally fishing and there were no more space for another 20 Indonesians or so.

"Therefore, I have left the fate of the latest batch of 26 Indonesians in the hands of NFA officials."

The Indonesians will be charged and detained once they arrive in Port Moresby, and the boat owners and captains face hefty fines if convicted.

Indonesian fishermen have, on numerous occasions, been caught fishing in PNG waters, and one such incident led to the death of an Indonesian fisherman after being shot by PNG troops during a surveillance operation in Vanimo, Sandaun province, last year.

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