The owner of the fish carrier suspected of illegally fishing in Palau waters has asked the court to dismiss the case filed against them by government prosecutors, citing that the vessel was found outside of the island nations’ territorial waters. [restrict]
Counsel for San Lorenzo Ruiz Fishing Industry, Inc., a Philippine-based fishing company and owner of Gene-8, Johnson Toribiong, this week filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss and for the return of the vessel.
Defendant argued that Vessel Gene 8 was “located, approached, boarded, inspected and seized on the periphery of the Palau’s EEZ, which is way beyond the territorial waters of the Republic.”
In the motion, the defendant said that based on the Palau marine law enforcers report, Gene 8 was boarded, “approximately 134 nautical miles. east of Merir Island and 5.5 nautical miles inside Palau Indonesia equidistance line.”
Defendant added that the area where the vessel was apprehended was “way beyond the 12 nautical miles outer boundaries of territorial waters of Merir Island, the closest ‘territorial waters.”
Theowner is also seeking a court order for the return of its vessel and restitution in the amount subject to proof for the value of its 30 tons of fish cargo, including such other relief as is just and fair, including reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.
Palau government filed on Dec. 2 a civil action suit against the owner of Gene 8.
Civil Action No. 16-112 seeks forfeiture of vessel Gene 8 with the government also asking the court to order the vessel to pay a fine for illegally fishing in Palau water.
On November 18, PSS Remeliik stopped and boarded the foreign fishing vessel found in Palau’s EEZ.
The boat owner through its counsel claimed that Gene 8 is not a fishing vessel, but a fish carrier.
It also argued that it was not illegally fishing in Palau and has suffered an engine problem on its way back to General Santos City, its main port. [/restrict]