2 Sri Lankan-registered vessels intercepted in Seychellois waters for illegal fishing
The Patrol Ship Etoile of the Seychelles Coast Guard was diverted to carry out the interception which took place on Wednesday, June 23. (Patrick Joubert)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Two Sri Lankan-registered vessels have been intercepted in the Seychelles' waters on suspicion of illegal fishing, the Seychelles People's Defence Forces (SPDF) said on Friday.
SPDF said that the interception was made "in a coordinated operation carried out by the Seychelles Coast Guard, Seychelles Air Force, Special Forces Unit, and the National Information Sharing and Coordination Centre."
The two vessels with six Sri Lankan nationals on each boat were spotted 177 nautical miles northwest of Mahe, the main island, by a Dornier Patrol aircraft of the Seychelles Air Force during a routine patrol.
The Patrol Ship Etoile of the Seychelles Coast Guard was diverted to carry out the interception which took place on Wednesday, June 23.
SPDF said that "the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) was notified and, based on evidence found, the fishing vessels were escorted to Port Victoria for further investigation. The vessels arrived in Port Victoria under escort this morning. Investigations are still ongoing."
The interception comes almost a week after a captain of a Sri Lankan-flagged fishing vessel was charged for illegal fishing by the Supreme Court of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The number of vessels caught on suspicion of illegal fishing in the Seychelles' waters since May this year is now five.
Seychelles has a vast Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres which presents a challenge when it comes to monitoring illegal activities in the island nation's waters.