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Tuesday, May 17, 2016


TWO Chinese fishing vessels with 25 crew members and flying inverted Philippine flag were apprehended off Batanes province, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Tuesday.

The joint elements of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were conducting seaborne patrol aboard BFAR vessels MCS 3010 and MM Patrol Boat 3049 when they chanced upon Chinese fishing vessels Shen Lian Cheng 719 with 12 crew members, and Shen Lian Cheng 720 with 13 crew members on board on May 16 between the waters of Babuyan Island and Batanes.

"Both fishing vessels were observed to be flying inverted Philippine flag within Philippine archipelagic waters," the DA said in a statement.

The two ships were registered with the People's Republic of China and had no prior authorization to traverse Philippine waters, it said.

The fishing vessels were escorted to Basco, Batanes for further investigation.

"Based on existing rules, the fact that both foreign fishing vessels were flying Philippine flag gave rise to the presumption that they are engaged in poaching, as there seems to be an attempt to conceal the vessels’ true identity to enable themselves to engage in fishing activity in Philippine waters. We will ensure however that the incident will be thoroughly investigated following the proper procedures," DA Undersecretary for Fisheries Asis Perez said.

He said BFAR has already communicated with the Department of Foreign Affairs to inform the agency of the incident and requested official interpreters to be sent to Basco during the investigation process.
The Chinese Embassy through the DFA will also be formally notified, he added. (SDR/Sunnex) -- http://www.sunstar.com.ph/

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