Magistrate fines, jails ship captain over illegal harvest

The National, Tuesday July 12th, 2016

A Vietnamese ship captain has been fined K20,000 and sentenced to two years’ jail with hard labour for harvesting sea cucumbers during a ban.
His vessel and all the properties in it were forfeited to the State.
Magistrate John Kaumi made the orders at the Alotau District Court on Friday after Captain Dinh Van Tam, 30, was convicted on June 27 for illegally harvesting sea cucumbers (beche-de-mer) in Papua New Guinea waters.
The Government banned the harvesting of sea cucumbers a few years ago when stocks continued to dwindle.
Properties on the vessel included 109 containers of which 84 were filled with diesel and 25 with sea cucumbers.
Tam and his 15 crew were seen harvesting sea cucumbers south of Ware Island in Milne Bay on June 19.
National Fisheries Authority officer Steven Klembassa received information from the island that five fishing vessels were harvesting sea cucumbers.
Klembassa organised five police officers in Alotau to travel to the island. Police managed to capture Tam’s vessel while the others got away.