Vietnamese ‘blue boat’ captains face $12 million SBD fine

The three captains before their court hearing in Honiara today.

The three captains before their court hearing in Honiara today.

The three Vietnamese “blue boats” captains face fines of up to $SBD 12 million, or up to three years in jail, the State prosecutor has revealed.

The three appeared before the Honiara Magistrate’s Court this morning, where they were formally remanded in custody.

The captains were caught last month with their forty crew allegedly stealing the country’s marine resources and have been detained at the RSIPF Rove headquarters since.

The State has charged them with four counts under the Fisheries Management Act 2015 and Fisheries regulations 2009.

Under the Fisheries ( Amendment ) regulation 2009, they were charged in relation to the illegal harvesting/catching of Bech-De-mer (sea cucumber).

Under the Fisheries Management Act 2015, they were charged for using fishing gears not permitted in Solomon Island waters, illegal entry into the country’s waters and engaging in fishing activities prohibited under the Fisheries Management Act 2015.

State prosecutor Andrew Kelesi said the penalties for the charges were hefty fines.

“The penalty for the charges range from five million Solomon dollars to 12 million Solomon dollars. So that is fine and penalty or jail time is not more than three years,” Mr Kelesi said.

“So that is what happens now, the three captains we are dealt with them separately from the 40 crew that we initially dealt with.”

The case will appear again before the Court early next month where directions to commit the case to the High Court will be made.

Kikiva Tuni

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