Thursday 23 November 2017

Argentina sinks Chinese boat fishing illegally in its waters

Argentina's coastguard has sunk the Chinese fishing trawler that was operating illegally within it's territorial waters
Argentina's coastguard has sunk the Chinese fishing trawler that was operating illegally within it's territorial waters

Dean Gray

Argentina's navy says it has used gunfire to sink a Chinese-flagged boat that was fishing illegally in national waters.

China's government said it had expressed its serious concern to Argentina and called for an investigation

The navy statement said the boat was intercepted off the coast of Puerto Madryn, adding that it did not heed warning calls and tried to ram an Argentine naval vessel.

Sailors then shot holes in different parts of the fishing boat, causing it to sink, the navy said.

Four people on board were rescued and arrested. They remain in custody and are to go before a federal judge in southern Chubut province, the statement said.

The navy said it had been 15 years since one of its vessels sank a foreign vessel fishing illegally in Argentina's waters.

In Beijing, Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said the boat had been fishing in Argentine waters and was chased for several hours before Argentine naval fire holed the vessel. It said four Chinese were picked up by the Argentines and 28 more were rescued by a nearby Chinese vessel.

The statement did not directly address the question of whether the boat was fishing illegally or tried to ram the Argentine navy vessel.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese embassy to Argentina have lodged urgent representations with Argentina, expressing serious concern, urging Argentina to carry out a full investigation immediately and to inform China of the details," the statement said.

Irish Independent

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