Coast Guard detains Chinese ship, crew for trespassing off Penghu

05/08/2021 05:35 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Penghu coast guard
Photo courtesy of the Penghu coast guard

Penghu, May 8 (CNA) A Chinese offshore supply vessel and its 12 crew members were detained Friday after they were caught trespassing in Taiwanese waters off the coast of Penghu, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Saturday.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said the ship was the third Chinese vessel it has detained in Taiwan's waters since China's summer fishing ban in the South China Sea started on May 1, as well as its first ever seizure of a Chinese supply ship.

The CGA said it spotted the ship -- the Shun Xing 666 -- during a patrol Friday at 6:20 p.m., some 21 nautical miles northwest of Hua Islet, the westernmost point in the Penghu island chain.

When a CGA vessel approached the supply ship and asked to inspect it, the supply ship tried to flee, but the Coast Guard was able to intercept it and bring it back to port in Magong, the CGA said.

During a search of the ship, Coast Guard officers found food supplies that included 637 kilograms of pork and multiple boxes of fruits and vegetables, the CGA said.

The CGA speculated that the ship was being used to deliver food supplies to Chinese fishing vessels at sea, and said that both the ship and its crew would be held pending an investigation.

The Chinese government imposes an annual summer fishing ban in the South China Sea to give the area's fish stocks the chance to replenish themselves.

This year's ban applies to waters above 12 degrees north latitude and is in effect from May 1 to Aug. 16.

Earlier this week, the Philippines advised its fishermen to ignore the ban, citing the country's own claims of sovereignty over the sea, parts of which are also claimed by Taiwan.

(By Chen Chi-ching and Matthew Mazzetta)

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