Taipei, Taiwanese Coast Guard personnel intercepted a Chinese fishing boat off the northern tip of Taiwan on Sunday and destroyed more than 30 kilograms of pork they found on the ship to prevent the possible entry of the African swine fever (ASF) virus.
The Chinese fishing boat was spotted 18.7 nautical miles north of Fugui Cape by a Coast Guard patrol team before noon Sunday, said Su Chenyi deputy commander of the Taiwan Coast Guard's Tamsui station.
Because the fishing boat was encroaching in Taiwan's economic waters, Coast Guard personnel chased it down and went aboard to see what it was up to, Su said.
They found 11 Chinese fishermen and 31 kilograms of frozen pork for their own consumption, and the pork was destroyed as a precautionary measure in Taiwan's efforts to keep the ASF virus out of Taiwan after affecting pigs throughout China. Taiwan has been on alert against ASF for fear that the virus, which is lethal to pigs and has no cure or vaccine, could destroy the country's sizable pig farming industry.
An initial investigation found that the fishing boat, which had its vessel name and registration number erased, left the port of Cangnan in China's Zhejiang Province on May 3 and sailed into Taiwan waters. There was no evidence of poaching activities by the Chinese boat because there was no evidence of fish being stored on board, Su said, and authorities will continue to investigate why the boat was in Taiwan's economic waters.
Currently suspected of trespassing and falsification of the boat's name, the Chinese fishermen are being held for questioning and will be dealt with based on the Act Government Relations Between People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.
The 575ton ironhulled fishing vessel was impounded at the Taipei Harbor after being disinfected.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel