According to a report from infodefensa.com, the Uruguayan Navy captures a Chinese ship accused of illegal fishing. The patrol boat ROU 23 Maldonado chased and captured the ship that had refused to be inspected.
The Uruguayan National Navy captured a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel after a several-hour chase. The ship was part of a group of vessels that had been monitored since July 1 as suspected of illegal fishing in the Uruguayan exclusive economic zone. The operation began when a Beechcraft B200T Super King Air aircraft was dispatched to the area to carry out a reconnaissance flight over several vessels. During the flight, two jiggers were identified 150 miles southeast of the eastern city of Punta del Este, which had deployed fishing gear.
Patrol boat Maldonado
The following day, the patrol ship ROU 23 Maldonado set sail to meet her, arriving in the area on Sunday 3, at which time pursuit of the Chinese – flagged ship Lu Rong Yuan Yu 06 had to be carried out, which refused to be approached by a visiting crew. After the chase, which lasted all night, the ship finally agreed to be inspected and fishing gear was detected, but its holds were empty. In any case, the ship was seized and is currently heading to the Port of Montevideo to continue the corresponding legal actions.
The commander of the Uruguayan National Navy, Admiral Jorge Wilson, along with other senior officers of the naval force, informed local and international media about the procedure that was followed and the reasons that caused the detention of the Chinese – flagged fishing vessel, Lu Rong Yuan 06, after a 12 hour night chase.
The reference vessel was discovered on Friday, July 1, along with another ship of the same flag, with machines turned off, approximately 20 miles within the Uruguayan exclusive economic zone (EEZ) without having any fishing permit. Thus, it is detected that the vessels were adrift in the area, as is generally done when they are fishing, since the previous day according to the AIS system reported.
That same Friday, around 10 am, the AIS systems of the vessels stopped reporting their position, their last reported position being in the squid fishing zone of the Uruguayan EEZ and with ideal astronomical conditions for fishing this resource.
In addition, it was detected that this ship had pending incidents in Argentina and other countries in the region. just as it was decided to send an aircraft to verify the situation of these ships, at this moment one of the ships was detected sailing while the second was adrift, indicating that there was fishing gear in the water, particularly the cape anchor that it allows the ship to stay aligned with the currents that carry the squid during their fishing.
Additionally, at night, the vessel was detected by another Naval Aviation aircraft with its fishing lights on, adding further evidence to the suspicion that the vessel is fishing illegally in the EEZ. Given this, the ship ROU 23 Maldonado was stationed in the area so that it could visit the ship and verify what situation it was in.
The Chinese vessel made some movements with its AIS on and then off, to reposition itself in fishing conditions, for which it was decided to board it. Finally, the ROU 23 Maldonado arrived at night in the area where the vessel was operating with its fishing lights on.
The Chinese ship argued that it did not recognize the Navy ship and that they could be pirates, something that is totally ruled out in the communications since the Uruguayan military ship identifies itself and turns on its AIS in order to be identified.
Communications took around an hour and a half, and after that, the Chinese ship recognizes the Uruguayan ship and says that it does not allow boarding until the central office approves it. In the middle of this process, the Chinese ship suspends communications and begins to flee. After 12 hours of pursuit, the ship is seized and when the ship is visited, in the first instance no fishing was detected except for some 11 to 12 tons of bagged squid that were discovered in the cold room intended for the crew’s provisions.
However, it is unknown what happened, during the time that the chase lasted, with the potential cargo that she could have had in her holds. After being detained, the ship was taken to the port of Montevideo where there are proceedings initiated by the National Naval Prefecture, the National Directorate of Aquatic Resources, and the Prosecutor’s Office.
Wilson reported on the legal framework on which the Navy acted, including the Convemar from United Nations that regulates the procedures for the exercise of the sovereignty of the coastal states, particularly in its article 73 regarding the exclusive economic zone and the national level, law 13,833 and decrees 115/018 and 540/971 that regulate the procedures both at the level of fishing permits and the exercise of control of the depredation of the country’s underwater resources and the procedures that must be carried out for his fight.
This legal framework is that it enables the Navy, in its role as maritime police, to intercept and board foreign-flagged ships that are suspected of being in violation. To this are added various internal orders of the Navy which establish the procedures to be followed in the event that a ship tries to evade her arrest and avoid being boarded for inspection.
In these cases, after being seized and detained, the ship must always be taken to port so that the possible infractions and legal consequences of her acts can be determined. In the particular case of the Chinese ship, it should be noted that the request to be inspected was not complied with and the ship began evasive maneuvers and tried to flee for almost 12 hours until it finally stopped machines.
Likewise, the Navy made a presentation on the type of fishing carried out by these vessels, called jiggers, how their fishing gear works, what routes they take, and which areas of the South American continent were illegal fishing by these predatory fleets has a higher incidence. including an area just outside the Uruguayan EEZ and Argentina.