A Taiwanese fishing boat registered in Donggang Township (東港), Pingtung County, has been detained by the Solomon Islands since Wednesday last week, Fisheries Agency Deputy Director-General Tsay Tzu-yaw (蔡日曜) said yesterday.
The boat, Chan Hung Tsai (展宏財), had obtained permission from the Solomon Islands authorities to operate in that country’s Exclusive Economic Zone under rules that allow foreign fishing vessels access to its waters, Tsai said, dismissing a media report saying that the boat was fishing illegally which led to it being sezied.
The boat was detained because Solomon Islands authorities found that its vessel monitoring system (VMS) did not transmit a signal indicating its position, course and speed while operational, which is a violation of rules covering the granting of access to its waters for foreign vessels, Tsai said.
On board the fishing boat were the Taiwanese skipper and nine Indonesian crewmembers who are all confirmed safe and have had no restrictions imposed on their movements, an official at the Fisheries Agency said.
Tsai said that the agency has been informed that the boat’s skipper had the VMS repaired before setting sail and did not know that the system installed in the boat by the repair company actually belonged to another vessel.
The Solomon Islands have alleged that the VMS on the Chan Hung Tsai was intentionally turned off, but the agency said the skipper thought that it was operational, Tsai said.
Tsai added that the skipper is still waiting for a report from the Taiwanese repair company to clear up the matter with the Solomon Islands’ authorities.