‘Blue Boats’ captains face four separate charges each

Police with the Vietnamese fish poachers upon arrival at the Aola Patrol Boat Base in Honiara. Photo: FFA Media

AFTER their crew members were slapped with a $US100 fine each last week, the three captains of the Vietnamese Blue Boats are facing further charges.

The three appeared in the magistrate’s court this morning and were charged with four counts each under the Fisheries Management Act 2015, and the Fisheries (Amendment) Regulation 2009.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution told Solomon Fresh-Beat Online, the three are being remanded at the Rove Correctional Center to face the charges.

Under the Fisheries (Amendment) regulation 2009, the three captains were charged in relation to the illegal Harvesting/catching of Bech-De-mer.

Under the Fisheries Management Act 2015, they were charged for using fishing gears that are not permitted in the Solomon Islands Fisheries Water, Illegal entry in the Solomon Islands Fisheries water and engaging in fishing activities that is prohibited in the Solomon Islands Fisheries water contrary to the Fisheries Management Act 2015.  

The DPP office applied for a formal remand of all three (3) accused to be remanded at the Rove Correctional Centre this morning which the court granted.

They will return to Court on the 4 May 2017 and by then, the Magistrate will commit their matter to the High Court for further prosecutions.

Decision to have the matter transferred to the High Court was because the penalty under the two acts which the captains were charged under ranges from $100,000-00 to $12 million SBD which the Magistrate Court has no jurisdiction to deal with.

Not only that, other applications such as forfeiture of the boats and other fishing gears will also be made at the High Court thereafter. 

The three Captains were dealt with differently because under Solomon Islands’ relevant Act, only the Captain or Master of the ship can be sued or taken to court under the Fisheries Act.

It is the reason why the other 40 crew members were dealt with under the Immigration Act and fined $USD20- per day for the illegal presence in Solomon Islands.

© Solomon Fresh-Beat Online News Service

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