WALVIS BAY – A flotilla of six Chinese vessels, seized and initially accused of illegal fishing in the fishing in the vicinity of Henties Bay, were cleared of any illegality and were given clearance to leave the country and continue with their voyage to China.
Briefing the media yesterday, on the investigation after the vessels were intercepted by the Namibian Navy, navy commander Rear Admiral Sinsy Nghipandua said all the vessels are jointly owned by the Chinese government and the private sector under the company, Zhenyauanyu.
“At first, they refused to cooperate and wanted otherwise to just proceed with their way to China; however, after coercive diplomacy by the task unit, they subdued to the navy order and accepted to be escorted to Walvis Bay for a proper investigation that needed to be done within seven days,” explained the navy commander.
He added the 40 men who were on board of the vessels are in good health.
According to Nghipandua, their investigation found several discrepancies on some of the crew’s lists and passports that were not stamped in the counties they claim to have been authorised to fish, except Angola.
They also only had fish-catching records for Angola, while the vessels names were not visible from a distance, which contradicts the international maritime law.
“All the vessels had the same name; only the serial numbers differed. During the initial enquiry, the skippers said they had no intention to conduct fishing activities and had only stationed themselves at the popular fishing spot due to a seven-day bad weather storm warning they had received. Due to the suspicion and the fact that the bad weather they were claiming could not substantiate, the navy decided to move them to the harbour outside anchorage area, where they could be thoroughly investigated,” he said.
According to Nghipandua, besides the discrepancies, there were no other suspicions; therefore, they had to be released and are now free to leave, as the investigation found no evidence of them violating the Marine Resources Act or Maritime Traffic Act.
He said the findings also indicated that stowage of their fishing gears revealed no evidence of any illegal fishing activities or any illegalities in Namibia.
Eveline de Klerk
2020-04-01 10:39:17 | 5 months ago