Upon learning of this President Wavel Ramkalawan ordered the coast guard to conduct an investigation. Upon surveillance they found out that the eight ships were trawlers. They were then boarded by coast guards and representatives of Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) to investigate if they were fishing illegally in our waters, but they did not find any evidence.
Speaking on this matter in a press conference, Designated Minister Jean François Ferrari, whop also holds the portfolio for fisheries and the blue economy, said the situation in itself is bizarre as they anchored in our waters and did not make any attempt at informing border security.
He noted that one of the captains on the vessel said that bad weather was the reason they had to anchor near Providence island.
“They also said that they were coming from West Africa in the Senegal and Gambia region and they were heading to Madagascar. We checked their tracking system and they were in fact heading to Madagascar,” said Designated Minister Ferrari.
The minister also added that two of the shipping vessels got flagged in Senegal for illegal fishing which raised further suspicion on their intentions in our waters.
“We also asked them to identify themselves and only four of them were able to provide their proper identification, four were unable to identify themselves so we asked all eight to dock at the port so we could continue the investigation,” continued Minister Ferrari.
He stressed that the invitation was amicable and is in no way an arrest.
Upon arriving at the port, health authorities, immigration, custom and SFA went on board to do their due diligence.
The minister added that since all eight ships are registered to the People’s Republic of China, they have sent a letter to the Chinese embassy to explain the situation to them.
The eight ships in question are LU QING XIN YUAN YU 005, LU QING XIN YUAN YU 006, LU QING XIN YUAN YU 007, LU QING XIN YUAN YU 008, GORDE 106, GORDE 107, GORDE 108, and GORDE 109. The last four ships have no identification.
“The government and myself put great importance in stopping illegal fishing. If we see eight shipping vessels who just appear in our waters without notification we will conduct an investigation to make sure that everything is being done legally,” said Minister Ferrari.
He added that if the four ships are not able to provide identification then this will turn into a legal matter.