Two Sri Lankan vessels intercepted in Seychelles waters for illegal fishing
Two Sri Lankan-registered vessels have been intercepted in Seychelles waters on suspicion of illegal fishing, the Seychelles People’s Defense Forces (SPDF) said on Friday.
The SPDF said the interception was carried out “as part of a coordinated operation by the Seychelles Coast Guard, the Seychelles Air Force, the Special Forces Unit and the National Center for information sharing and coordination “.
The two ships with six Sri Lankan nationals on each boat were spotted 177 nautical miles northwest of Mahe, the main island, by a Seychelles Air Force Dornier patrol plane during the a routine patrol.
The Seychelles Coast Guard patroller Etoile was hijacked to carry out the interception which took place on Wednesday 23 June.
The SPDF said that âthe Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) has been notified and, based on the evidence found, the fishing vessels have been escorted to Port Victoria for further investigation. The ships arrived in Port Victoria under escort this morning. Investigations are still ongoing. “
The interception comes nearly a week after a captain of a Sri Lankan-flagged fishing vessel was charged with illegal fishing by the Supreme Court of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The number of vessels suspected of illegal fishing in Seychelles waters since May this year is now five.
Seychelles has a vast exclusive economic zone of 1.4 million square kilometers, which presents a challenge when it comes to monitoring illegal activity in the waters of the island nation.
Source: Seychelles News Agency