7 arrested after Jamaican fishing boat was detained in local waters
The Marine Police have charged seven Jamaican men with breaches of the Fisheries Act, following the detention of the boat on which they were working in Jamaican waters last Friday.
Six of the men were charged with fishing without identification, as well as fishing without licences, while the vessel's chief mate was arrested for aiding and abetting these breaches, the Marine Police advised.
Antonette Wemyss-Gorman told The Gleaner yesterday afternoon that she was in the process of releasing the vessel named Miss Rez on the instructions of the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
"The vessel was detained by us over the weekend and I am now in the process of releasing the vessel, on the instructions of the Fisheries Division. The catch will be kept in bond and detained by Customs until investigations are complete," she said.
Commander Wemyss-Gorman explained that the boat was intercepted during a routine patrol by the Coastguard in the Pedro Bank area last Friday evening.
"On boarding the vessel, we encountered several undocu-mented persons who were not registered to fish, and some foreign nationals. The vessel had an exploratory fishing licence to conduct lobster fishing. It also had a licence to harvest conch," she told The Gleaner.
The Coastguard then took the vehicle into port at Kingston where the relevant agencies - Immigration, Customs, the Marine Police and the Fisheries Division - did the relevant checks, following which the men were charged.
A policeman told The Gleaner that checks by Immigration found that the documents of all the foreign nationals were in order and so none of them were arrested.
NO LISTING FOUND
Miss Rez is owned by Tunric Enterprises, a Jamaican company, with a Mr Francis listed as the owner, but checks by The Gleaner could find not such listing on the website of the Companies Office of Jamaica. And even though the vessel has been released, investigations are still continuing to determine the particular terms of its fishing licences to determine if there have been any breaches.
When contacted, neither Junior Agriculture Minister Luther Buchanan nor Donovan Stanberry, the permanent secretary, could shed any light on the situation.
Buchanan told The Gleaner that he was aware of the vessel being detained, but could not speak to the reason for its release. He has instructed officers in the Fisheries Division to provide an update, after which he should be adequately informed to speak on the matter.