Cape Town: 27 September, 2016
A Taiwanese fishing vessel arrested and detained in South Africa earlier this month has been released, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) confirmed on Tuesday.
SAMSA said in Cape Town on Wednesday that the vessel was released after it settled admissions of contravention imposed on it relating to violations it was found to have committed while sailing in the country’s waters on the Indian Ocean.
It had been found non-compliant with International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, (MARPOL) as there was no record in the Oil Record Book of oily waste having been landed ashore or discharged through the oily water separator, a SAMSA statement said.
The arrest of the vessel known as the Chin Jen Wen on 09 September was conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) after it was spotted through the department’s Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) apparently entering the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) from Mossel Bay towards Cape Town.
DAFF initially suspected that the vessel had not applied for permission to be in the area. Fisheries protection vessels including The Victoria Mxenge were then set successfully on its pursuit and arrest eventually culminating in its detention at the port of Cape Town.
While in detention under the Marine Living Resources Act, according to DAFF spokesman, Ms Bomikazi Molapo; the vessel would undergo a thorough inspection conducted by all relevant law enforcement stakeholders, including SAMSA – the country’s maritime safety authority.
SAMSA sought to ensure that it complied with all relevant international maritime conventions relevant to that type of vessel. SAMSA also used its jurisdiction as a Coastal State to ensure that the vessel was of no threat to the State from a safety and pollution perspective.
Ms Molapo said: “The Minister has undertaken to intensify the fight against any form of illegal fishing in our exclusive economic zone to ensure that our resources are utilized for the benefit of the country to reduce poverty and ensure food security for all. South African waters remain a sovereign jurisdiction and its marine living resources will be protected by the Department”.