A Chinese offshore supply vessel and its 12 crew members were on Friday detained after they were caught trespassing in Taiwanese waters off Penghu County, the Coast Guard Administration said yesterday.
The ship was the third Chinese vessel the coast guard has detained in Taiwanese waters since China’s summer fishing ban in the South China Sea started on Saturday last week, as well as its first ever seizure of a Chinese supply ship, the coast guard said in a statement.
It spotted the vessel — the Shun Xing 666 — during a patrol on Friday at 6:20pm, about 21 nautical miles (39km) northwest of Hua Islet (花嶼), the westernmost point in the Penghu archipelago, it said.
Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration’s Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch via CNA
When a coast guard vessel approached the supply ship and asked to inspect it, the ship tried to flee, but the coast guard intercepted it and brought it to Penghu County’s Magong Port (馬公港), the coast guard said.
During a search of the ship, officers found 637kg of pork and multiple boxes of fruits and vegetables, the coast guard said.
The ship might have been delivering food supplies to Chinese fishing vessels, it said, adding that the ship and its crew would be held pending an investigation.
The Chinese government imposes an annual summer fishing ban in the South China Sea to allow the area’s fish stocks to replenish. This year’s ban applies to waters above 12 degrees north latitude and is in effect from Saturday last week to Aug. 16.
Earlier this week, the Philippines advised its fishers to ignore the ban, citing the country’s own claims of sovereignty over the sea, parts of which are also claimed by Taiwan.
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