PCG nabs 9 Chinese fishermen for illegal poaching, recover embalmed sea turtles

May 29, 2010 9:17 pm 

MANILA, May 29 –Operatives of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) arrested nine Chinese fishermen for illegal poaching in Balabac Island, Palawan aboard a fishing vessel last Thursday.

The undocumented Chinese fishing vessel, with bow number 05022, was also seized after yielding two embalmed sea turtles and several bottles, which were suspected to contain meat of a giant clam.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, PCG commandant, said that the PCG was still verifying the identities of the Chinese fishermen in Puerto Princesa City.

Tamayo said crew members of MCS-3002, a Philippine Coast Guard-BFAR vessel, while conducting Maritime Patrol (MARPAT) towards Royal Captain Shoal, Palawan Passage, spotted the suspicious vessel with nine crew members onboard at vicinity 45 nautical miles northwest of Ligas Point, Balabac Island, Palawan.

Investigation shoed that when the MCS-3002 was about 500 meters and closing from the suspicious vessel, a radio contact was established but yielded negative result.

The crew members tried to use the searchlight towards the suspicious vessel but all of the vessel’s navigational and deck lights were switched off while gaining speed and tried to maneuver for an escape.

During the chase, MCS-3002 personnel noticed from the suspicious vessel that some items were thrown overboard.

The crew members of MCS-3002 intercepted the suspicious vessel after a 30-minute chase and conducted boarding and inspection procedure with a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources representative.

The captain of the suspicious vessel said that they do not have vessel/crew documents onboard. The PCG-BFAR team also recovered containers of Formaldehyde and stuffing materials used for the embalmed sea turtles and noticed fresh blood and sea turtle scales on the vessel’s deck.

At 7:30 a..m. of the same day, the MCS-3002 personnel decided to escort the seized vessel with its crew members onboard bound for Puerto Princesa City, Palawan for further investigation and proper disposition.

The MCS-3002, together with the seized vessel, arrived at the Puerto Princesa City anchorage area at 4:15 p.m. Friday. (PNA) RMA/JES

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