Police are currently investigating reports of ‘Blue Boats’ sighting off the Coast of Anuta Island in the Temotu Province.
In a release this evening Police says, in relation to what appeared in the local Newspaper and online, the RSIPF is aware of this and an investigation is going into.
Police (RSIPF) is appealing to members of public and communities who may have any further information about the matter to call police phone number 23666 or 999 (emergency line) and relay the information.
Details of the investigation may not be given at this stage as an operation currently on the way.
“Blue boat” is the name given to blue Vietnamese build wooden fishing boats between 10 to 15 meters long.
They are ocean going vessels moving into the Pacific Islands waters in search of reef resources such as sea cucumber, giant clams, trochus, lobster and fish.
Early this year four of these “Blue boats” were arrested by the New Caledonia Authorities for fishing illegally in the northern reefs of their country.
These boats are known to be equipped with scuba and hookah diving gears and experienced fisheries divers with capacity to clean a reef of its resources in a day.
Also increasing numbers of the alleged ‘blue boats’ are sighted illegally fishing in South Pacific waters, like in Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Palau, Micronesia and in northern Australia.
Last year (2016), 10 Vietnamese boats were detained in Australian waters, with 121 of 146 fishermen sentenced and 32,000 tonnes of bêche-de-mer detained.
The boats have been also sighted for the first time in Vanuatu this year.