Taiwan-Philippines dispute is an old fisherman’s tale


A total of 22 Taiwanese fishing boats and their crew have been seized in the waters between Taiwan and the Philippines where the exclusive economic zones of the two countries overlap in the past decade, reports our sister paper China Times.

Over the same period, nine vessels have been detained for fishing illegally in the Philippine EEZ, with another seized for encroaching on Philippine territorial waters.

A spokesman for Taiwan’s fishery administration said that one of the aforementioned boats was indeed operating in the exclusive economic zone that belongs to the Philippines and Indonesia, with its crew ignoring requests from Taiwan’s authorities to leave the zone.

In another incident, a boat was caught operating in close proximity to a Philippine island and was fired upon by the country’s coast guard as it fled leaving several of its crew wounded.

Taiwanese fishing boats are often detained in the zone that both Taiwan and the Philippines claim as theirs, said the spokesman.

A fierce dispute has erupted between the two countries after Hung Shih-cheng, 65, was killed when his boat was fired upon by a Philippine patrol boat on May 9.

Many Taiwanese fishermen claim that Philippine coast guard officers seize their vessels in order to demand money from the crew and they are often not told why they have been detained.

During typhoon season, the Philippine coast guard will wait until a storm rises to discreetly let the boat go, so it can return home without attracting media attention, local fishermen said.

The Philippines has increased efforts to improve the image of its coast guard and now claims to follow international protocols by fining Taiwanese boats US$50,000-$60,000 when they are found encroaching before releasing them immediately.



Source: http://www.wantchinatimes.com/



Leave a reply