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19 intrusions by Taiwanese vessels into PH seas recorded since 2006—PCG

AFP FILE PHOTO/PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD

MANILA, Philippines — At least 19 intrusions into northern Philippine waters by Taiwanese vessels suspected of illegal fishing have been recorded by the Philippine Coast Guard since 2006, a PCG official told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday.

The official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, also said that an undisclosed number of Taiwanese fishing vessels caught by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have remained in the custody of the agency after all these years.

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One of the seized vessels has been fined P13 million by the BFAR while some of the fishermen have been charged in local courts, he said.

The BFAR operates 10 monitoring and surveillance vessels, most of them manned by PCG personnel.

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The official noted that with the pullout of the BFAR surveillance ship 3001 from the Batanes group of islands, there had been no major Coast Guard presence in the area.

“Fishermen, mainly from Taiwan, are having a fiesta. Especially now, which is a fishing season,” he said.

The BFAR 3001, a fiber glass vessel, has a crew of 19, of whom 17 are PCG personnel.

Last year, the ship was one of several ships deployed by the government to the West Philippine Sea during the standoff between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal.

Asked if the BFAR 3001 would be re-deployed to the north, Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, PSG commandant, said he would await the outcome of the inquiry into the May 9 shooting of a Taiwanese boat off the Balintang Channel, which had led to the death of a Taiwanese fisherman.

He said the morale of the PCG personnel has sunk since the May 9 fatal shooting that stirred diplomatic tensions between the Philippines and Taiwan.

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TAGS: Foreign affairs, Foreign Vessels, Global Nation, Illegal fishing, International relations, maritime intrusions, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippines, Poaching, Taiwan
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