|Fishing vessel CM 99772 TS and all illegally caught seafood were escorted to shore by the Coast Guard for handling measures.|
Drastic in checking and handling
The EC’s “yellow card” warning for Vietnam’s caught seafood products has not been removed. The risk of withdrawing the “red card” is very large if no more drastic and synchronous solution exists.
According to the Coast Guard Command statistics, fishing vessels violating IUU fishing in foreign waters are still concentrated mainly in Kien Giang, Ca Mau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Bac Lieu, and Ba. Ria – Vung Tau. Until now, localities across the country continue to detect 62 cases, 85 ships 704 fishermen violators. In 43 cases, 58 ships with 440 fishermen were determined to violate foreign waters; in 19 cases, 27 ships with 264 were arrested and handled in overlapping and disputed waters, historic waters, seizure and unidentified coordinated areas.
Colonel Tran Van Luong, Commander of Coast Guard Region 4, said that over the past time, Coast Guard Region 4 Command has effectively implemented patrolling, controlling and maintaining force and means of transport to enforce the law, effectively promoted the propaganda and dissemination of the law in the field, as well as in the stationed area and via the mass media.
Coast Guard Region 4 regularly maintains 13-15 ships on duty, patrolling and controlling IUU fishing in the seas. Which seven ships are regularly in charge (2 Coast Guard ships and 5 Fisheries control ships) in the waters bordering Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia. The Command of the Coast Guard Region 4 reports that from July 2021 up to now, the Coast Guard Region 4 has inspected and handled 225 cases with 294 fishing vessels violating IUU, of which 11 cases were handed over with 17 ships for processing provinces.
Typically, recently, during the patrol at sea, the Coast Guard Region 4 forces inspected and arrested two fishing boats with numbers CM 99772 TS and KG 95469 TS while committing violations on fishing IUU waterfall. Through inspection, the Coast Guard identified violations such as; The captain did not have the diploma or certificate as prescribed; the crew members did not carry identification documents, the fishing license and technical safety certificate of the ship expired; did illegal fishing in foreign waters; removed the trip monitoring device without the supervision of the supplier and installer; failed to maintain cruise monitoring equipment during operations at sea; failed to re-register the fishing vessel and not notify the management organisation before leaving the fishing port following regulations.
Coast Guard Region 4 then transferred all case files, exhibits and means of violation to the People’s Committees of Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces for handling according to their competence. Specifically, the Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ca Mau province issued a decision to impose a fine of VND 1,402,500,000, confiscate the fishing vessel CM 99772 TS and all illegally caught seafood; the Chairman of the People’s Committee of Kien Giang province issued a decision to impose a fine of VND 1,385,500,000, revoke the right to use the fishing boat captain’s certificate for 12 months and confiscate the fishing vessel KG 95469 TS and all illegally caught seafood according to regulations.
Urgent implementation of solutions
Speaking at the online conference to review the results of the implementation of the task of preventing and combating IUU fishing and implementing measures in the peak period against IUU fishing (October 17, 2022), Colonel Le Dinh Cuong, Deputy Commander, Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard, Head of the Steering Committee of the Coast Guard Command on IUU, assessed that, from October 2020 until now, cases of Vietnamese fishing vessels violating foreign waters which have been arrested have decreased but are not stable. However, there are still complicated developments which can cause damage to the lives and properties of fishermen.
Colonel Le Dinh Cuong said that Article 13 of the Law on Vietnam Coast Guard stipulates that the Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling, inspecting and controlling people, ships, goods and luggage to detect and prevent law violations at sea. Cases of stopping ships for inspection and control include: Directly detecting law violations or signs of law violations; detecting and recording illegal acts or signs of law violation via means and professional technical equipment
In addition, Article 9 of the Law on Vietnam Coast Guard is clearly stated that in their duties, the Coast Guard has the right to handle administrative violations following the law on handling administrative violations, conduct several criminal investigation activities following the law on the organisation of criminal investigation agencies and the law on criminal procedures.
Therefore, to proceed with the peak anti-IUU fishing campaign effectively in the last months of 2022, Colonel Le Dinh Cuong asked officials and commanders of agencies and units to develop and complete the peak plan to prevent and stop fishing vessels from illegally fishing in foreign waters; strengthen patrol, inspection and control activities in the sea areas, timely detect and prevent foreign functional force ships operating in Vietnam’s waters and fishing vessels showing signs of violations; strengthen the inspection and sanction the observance of the provisions of Vietnam’s law on IUU fishing, which are mainly focusing on illegal fishing activities in the sea areas and the installation and maintenance of the fisherman’s on-board cruise monitoring system.
Work closely with police and border guards to grasp the situation of fishing vessels violating IUU (mainly ship owners, captains and subjects involved in illegal fishing in foreign waters) and deploy subsequent professional measures following the basic investigation to promptly detect violations and fight effectively right from the “shore”, from the “root”.
In particular, the units need to carry out propaganda for boat owners and fishermen to know the provisions of the law on the Sea of Vietnam, the Law on Fisheries, the law on the Coast Guard of Vietnam and other relevant legal documents in the program “Coastal police accompanies fisherman” and the mass mobilisation work “Coastal police with ethnic and religious compatriots”; handle well the international coordination and cooperation according to the plan to prevent and combat IUU fishing, promptly contact and coordinate in the settlement and timely handling of cases of Vietnamese fishing vessels being detained by foreign functional forces.