Philippines arrests 14 Vietnamese sailors for illegal fishing

By Vu Minh   March 16, 2018 | 01:12 am PT
Philippines arrests 14 Vietnamese sailors for illegal fishing
Fishermen ride on a bamboo boat at the bay of Ly Son islands of Vietnam's central Quang Ngai Province. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Fourteen Vietnamese fishermen were arrested early on Wednesday off the coast of the Philippines for “poaching” in the country's territorial waters.

The two boats they were operating were caught in waters off Paluan, a municipality in the central province of Occidental Mindoro, the Malina Times cited local authorities as saying in a Thursday report.

The fishermen were taken to Mamburao Municipal Police Station, while their vessels were towed to Tayamaan Port in Occidental Mindoro, they said.

In September last year, five Vietnamese fishermen were arrested after they were discovered fishing 34 nautical miles off Cape Bolinao in the Philippines' province of Pangasinan.

During the arrest, the Vietnamese fishing boat allegedly rammed into a Filipino naval vessel, prompting its officers to fire warning shots which accidentally hit and killed two Vietnamese crewmen.

Five others were arrested.

In October, the Philippines made an official apology to Vietnam and the families of the two fishermen, pledging to pay them proper compensation.

One month later, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally led a send-off ceremony for five Vietnamese fishermen.

Their release followed a promise Duterte made to the Vietnamese government while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in the country in early November 2017, according to the Philippine Information Agency.

“We are one, we are ASEAN. I am sorry for this incident, it will not happen again,” the agency quoted him as saying.

Hundreds of Vietnamese fishermen have been arrested for encroaching in foreign waters in recent years.

In 2016, Duterte ordered the release of and personally bid farewell to 17 Vietnamese fishermen caught in his nation's waters.

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