Sri Lankan illegal fishing vessels to arrive Thursday

The fight against illegal invasion of Mauritian waters was stepped up after two Sri Lankan vessels were found illegally fishing in the Nazareth fishing bank on Saturday. They were stopped and inspected by Madagascan vessel Atsantsa working on behalf of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). Several kilometres of fishing nets, tuna, swordfish, dolphins and shark fins were recovered onboard.

The two ships are being escorted by the Madagascan vessel and are expected to reach Port Louis harbour on Thursday afternoon. They crew will be handed over to the special cell of the Central Criminal Investigation which oversees all pirates and high profile illegal fishing activities. The crew of the Atsantsa includes officers from Mauritius, Comoros, Réunion island, Madagascar and Seychelles. They will be charged with illegal fishing in court.

Meanwhile, Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter transferred nine suspected pirates to the Seychelles authorities for prosecution on Monday. The transfers happened after HNLMS De Ruyter, which was conducting counter piracy patrols, stopped two skiffs on February 19 some 120 nautical miles off the Somali Coast. The skiffs were reported by a Panama flagged merchant vessel off the coast of Somalia.

About 12 suspected pirates are facing trial in a special court at the New Court House before judge Priviraj Feknah. They are temporarily charged with piracy attack at high seas under the Piracy and Maritime Violence Act. The suspects denied the charges and told the police they were “fishing.”


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