Indonesian prosecutors are expected to file formal charges against the captain of a Taiwanese fishing vessel that was allegedly illegally fishing in the country's waters, officials with Taiwan's representative office in Jakarta said on Sunday.
The Pingtung-based Jih Lien Tsai No. 16 (???16?) was intercepted by the Indonesian navy on Oct. 12 in waters east of the Philippines' Mindinao Island and north of Indonesia's Maluku Islands, said Tsai Hung-lin (???), the son of the captain of the detained ship Tsai Yun-ming (???)
The Indonesian Navy said the fishing vessel was not flying its national flag, did not have fishing permits, had a crew that did not match the crew manifest and was illegally fishing in Indonesia's exclusive economic zone.
Captain Tsai said the vessel was not fishing when it was intercepted. Indonesian officials said they found a haul of fish on the ship.
Fisheries Agency head Chen Tain-shou (???) said Sunday that there was over 100 kilograms of tuna on the ship when it was stopped by Indonesian authorities, and Chen urged the captain to explain where the tuna was caught to clarify doubts.
The vessel and its Taiwanese captain and chief engineer and six Filipino crew members were taken to the port of Bitung in North Sulawesi. The crew has been free to move around onboard the ship and in the port.
The Indonesian military and police recently finished questioning the crew members and completed their investigation and will hand over their findings to prosecutors. It is expected that the prosecutors will indict the captain, said Taiwanese officials in Jakarta.
Taiwan's representative office will keep in contact with the Indonesian Navy, the captain and his family and ensure that all eight crew members are safe, the officials said.
Taiwanese officials went to Bitung to see the crew members about a week ago, according to representative office officials.
The representative office could suggest local lawyers and provide other forms of help to the captain's family once the case enters the judicial process, the officials said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel