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The Mozambican maritime authorities have seized a boat that was fishing illegally in Mozambican waters, in the Sao Lazaro Bank, about 50 miles from the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
The National Director of Operations in the Ministry of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Leonid Chimarizene, announced the seizure in Maputo on Friday, although it took place on 30 October.
As a result of the fishing violations committed, the captain of the boat, the “Ocean Storm”, which is registered in the Seychelles, has been fined four million meticais (about 65,000 US dollars), and is banned from fishing in Mozambique for the next three years. The captain, John Hoarehu, is a Seychelles national. The boat, and all its fishing gear, have been confiscated and revert to the Mozambican state.
Chimarizene explained that the authorities did not make the seizure public immediately, in order not to prejudice ongoing investigations.
The 12 metre long “Ocean Storm” had a crew of nine. When it was spotted it was not flying any flag, and had no identification number. On board it had none of the normal fishing or navigation logs, or even any property documents.
When it was approached, the ship still tried to escape, but was pursued and seized by Mozambican monitoring vessels. Chimarizene said it was found that “Ocean Storm” had not reported its position when it entered Mozambican waters, and had no licence to fish in waters under Mozambican jurisdiction.
The captain admitted that his boat had been fishing illegally, and his only excuse was that he had no knowledge of Mozambican fishing legislation.
In addition to the fishing gear, the inspectors found 30 kilos of fish on board, mostly tuna. They believe much more had been caught, but was thrown overboard when the crew realised the “Ocean Storm” was being pursued.
The authorities are not sure how long the “Ocean Storm” had been in Mozambican waters, since it was not connected to the satellite monitoring system. The crew is now being repatriated to the Seychelles.
The seizure of this boat, said Chimarizene, “is a clear indication that the Mozambican authorities are attentive and ready to act against any violation of the waters under our jurisdiction”.Source: AIM