SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — The Philippine Navy (PN) on Friday apprehended three Vietnamese fishing vessels carrying 17 crew members while conducting illegal poaching within the West Philippine Sea located 21 nautical miles southwest off Dile Point in Sta Catalina, Ilocos Sur.
This happened when the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources conducted joint seaborne patrol as part of ongoing efforts to address illegal commercial fishing activities in the area.
Speaking in mixed English and Tagalog, Task Force 11 Commander Ronnie Paba of Naval Forces Northern Luzon, said they apprehended the Vietnamese fishermen because they were conducting pouching or illegal fishing inside the Philippine territory or in and near Pangasinan, and were apprehended 21 nautical miles from the shoreline of Ilocos Sur.
During the investigation, crewmen of the Vietnamese fishing vessels admitted they were using illegal superlights, which produce super bright lights that attract fishes but it also cause death to the small fishes that are attracted to it.
Bureau of Immigration personnel are now individually determining the names of the Vietnamese crew members with the help of an interpreter while operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, using their K-9 unit, searched all the vessels for possible illegal drugs but this did not yield positive result.
Paba said the vessel’s crewmen could not present any document, nor have any passport or paper showing that they can enter the Philippine territory. They are also called illegal entrants as they were conducting pouching or illegal fishing in Philippine territory, Paba added.
The Vietnamese fishing vessels were caught by BRP Salvador Abcede and BRP Hilario Ruiz, patrol ships of Naval Task Force 11 Philippine Navy under the Naval Forces Northern Luzon.
The apprehended 17 crew members were turned over to the Regional Committee on Illegal Entrants for proper disposition. Vicente Alhambra,Jr/PNA/northboundasia.com