Ship crew deny charges

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By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
THREE crew members of an unnamed foreign ship intercepted by a PNG Navy vessel near Kavieng last month have denied violating local laws and withholding information from authorities.
In the Kavieng District Court before Magistrate Patrick Baiwan on Wednesday were ship captain Shi Kehu from Fujian province in China, second-in-command Ying Kit Lam from Hong Kong, and crew member Mariglen Dhimogjini from Albania.
They will return to court next Tuesday and have been ordered to stay on board the vessel berthed at the Kavieng port, under a 24/7 police guard.
The unnamed vessel which police believe is linked to a K1.47 billion drug bust recently in Australian waters, was intercepted in waters north of Kavieng on Aug 23 by the crew of the HMPNGS Moresby.
Shots were fired at the crew when they refused to stop.
The captain was later treated in hospital for a shot wound.
National Fisheries Authority (NFA) executive manager monitoring control and surveillance Giza Komangin told The National the three had violated provisions of the Fisheries Management Act 1998.
Captain Shi was charged with:

  • REFUSING to divulge names and contacts of persons and vessels that the vessel was conducting bunkering activities at sea;
  • REFUSING to stop the vessel for boarding and inspection by fisheries and navy officials when instructed to;
  • DESTROYING and deleting electronic data and tracks to avoid seizure or detection by fisheries officers;
  • FAILING to comply with requirements of gear stowage when navigating inside PNG waters; and,
  • VIOLIATING other state laws to supply fishing vessels with fuel and other supplies an activity requiring a valid fishing licence.

Yong was charged with knowingly giving information that is false and misleading about the operation of the vessel and refusing to divulge names of contacts of person to investigation officials.
Dhimogjini was charged with refusing to divulge names and contacts of persons and vessels engage in its operation inside Pacific Island waters.
NFA officials during their investigations discovered that the vessel’s name was Min Shi Yu 00368 engaged in fishing activities, and supplying fuel and food to other fishing vessels at sea.
On May 1, 2020, it left Quanzhou in China with a crew of seven and picked up in Hong Kong Ying Kit Lam and Mariglen Dhimogjini.
The vessel had no markings to show its name, flag or country of registry, or international radio call sign to show that it was legitimately navigating through PNG waters.
Only three of the nine crew members have passports, five have identification cards, and one has no identification at all and no logbooks or records were available.

16 comments

  • That’s a clear illegal operation there. Imprison them. No other choices left-since they refuse to provide information, and maybe have destroyed evidences. Sell their vessel to cover costs involved!

  • Why are the suspects kept in the ship? They should be locked in police cells, awaiting court trials. Why are we too lenient on people who persistently break our laws and undermine our national sovereignty as a nation??

  • The NFA Executive Manager has highlighted some important points and I for one believed that they are linked with the drugs because they have deleted all data for their communication and others reliable information to bring those in justices as well as the origin. Ensure all those involved are brought to face full force of the Laws of our country.

  • The deleted data can be restored by experts – so get some IT geeks to look at the electronic devices. That should provide all the unanswered questions.
    These people should be locked up and the vessel sized and fined on all the offences they may have committed.

  • Why are we so relaxed with foreigners coming in without proper procedures..and yet we are so soft.

    I’m appealing to the courts to be tough in their decisions.
    If it was a PNGnean in their waters, I bet you their courts will never be lenient.
    Think about it.
    These are Asians and they will do anything to make money.
    Sore pes blon ol noken entertaining..ol kon lain ya.

  • Now NFA have pressed their charges. What about other Gov’t Agencies? Customs, Foreign Affairs, Police and Health Depts must step in and do the same. Each agencies should take action according to their National Laws and Regulations as stipulated under the constitutions. This is why our Laws and Regulations seemed to become weak if only one section is doing its part. Come on other Gov’t Agencies wake-up.

  • IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) Vessels carry no visible markings, no flag of origin, no vessel’s documents, no proper crew list, at times enslaved crews, all things normal for a legally operated vessel will be missing.

    Impound the vessel under Fisheries Laws and jail the crew after prosecution.

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