Tue, Jun 21, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Fisherman's family asks for help to pay Japanese fine

CNA , PINGTUNG

The family of the skipper of the Pingtung-based Chinmingtsai No. 11 trawler, which was detained by Japanese coast guard authorities two days ago for poaching in Japan's exclusive economic zone, are now fretting over how to pay the heavy Japanese fine.

Aid requested

The wife of skipper Chen Teh-liang (陳得良) appealed to the central government for financial assistance to help them raise the ?2.36 million (NT$679,276) in two weeks to pay for Chen and the trawler's release.

The Chinmingtsai No. 11 and its four-member crew were detained by Japanese coast guard authorities on Saturday on charges of poaching in Japan's 200-mile (320km) exclusive economic zone some 120km east of Miyako Island, Okinawa.

The Japanese coast guard authorities released the detained Taiwanese fishing boat and its crew around 9pm yesterday after Taiwan's representative stationed in Okinawa, Chen Chih-hung (陳桎宏), promised to serve as their guarantor, promising that the skipper will pay the ?2.36 million fine within two weeks.

According Chen Chih-hung, the Chinmingtsai's skipper had confessed to having transgressed into Japan's exclusive economic waters, and under Japanese maritime law, the shipowner must pay a fine of about ?2 million for the ship and crew's release.

Back soon

Chen Teh-liang is expected to sail back to Pingtung aboard the Chinmingtsai today or tomorrow, according to authorities from the Pingtung Fishermen's Association.

The incident came just a few days after some 50 Taiwan fishing boats converged in waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China, to protest being frequently chased away from their traditional fishing grounds by Japanese patrol ships.

The unusual move was also aimed at pushing the government to adopt more active measures to protect local fishermen's rights in the two countries' overlapping economic zones.

Taiwanese fishing ships have repeatedly been expelled or detained by Japanese patrol vessels over the past two years after Japan readjusted and expanded its exclusive economic zone to as close as 37km off the coasts of Ilan and Hualien counties.

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