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21 Head Asian Tuna Crew Charged With Illegal Fishing

Thirty-two members of a foreign vessel crew who were arrested while fishing in Tanzania territorial waters were yesterday charged with two counts of fishing without a license and violating deep sea law.

The suspects, nine Chinese, six Vietnamese, four Indonesians, two Taiwanese, seven Filipinos and four Kenyans, all pleaded not guilty to the charges. They were remanded for lack of sureties.

The crew were caught aboard MV Tawariq 1 on Wednesday after they were intercepted by a patrol ship in the deep sea with over 70 tons tuna fish.

Presiding magistrate Addy Lyamuya was faced with a difficult task to ensure the trial proceeded smoothly with the help of translator.

State attorney Biswalo Mganga read the charge sheet in English and allowed a Chinese and Indonesian interpreters to read the charges to the accused.

This caused even more confusion. Earlier, the two interpreters swore to faithfully interpret the proceedings in court. The case was later adjourned for an hour to allow the prosecution to amend the charge sheet which did not show ages of he accused persons.

“I can no longer continue to hear this case and I ask you to amend the charge sheet,” said magistrate Lyamuya. She said ages of the accused persons were key for the court to decide whether or not they can be joined together.

When the trial resumed, state attorney told the court that the crew were charged with fishing without licence against section 18(1) of the Deep Sea Fishing Authority Act.

He alleged that on or about March 8, the accused were found fishing without valid license within the exclusive economic zone of Tanzania.

Mr. Mganga who was assisted by Mr Boniface Stanslaus, said the second count involved only the captain of the ship, Hsu Chin Tai.

It was alleged that on the same day within the zone, the captain erased fishing track on the Global Position System plotter with the intention to conceal the information on the movement of fishing vessel.

Some of the Chinese suspects frequently interrupted the interpreter, but the magistrate asked the Chinese interpreter to ask them to remain silent until they are allowed by the court to speak.

Today, the accused persons will be taken to the Central Police station for further interrogation. 0ne of the accused had asked the court to grant them bail, but they had no one to stand surety for them.

Their interpreter pleaded with the audience in the court to come forward to bail them without success. The Chinese are Chin Tai Hsu, 61, who is captain of the ship; Jiojwen Chang, 34; Jia Yin Zhao, 26; Gexi Zhao, 36; Zongmin Ma, 36; Dong Liu, 25; Yongiao Fang, 22; Nguyen Tuan 23; Hsu Sheng Pao, 55 and Zhao Hanquing, 39 and two Taiwanese Mohamed Kiki, 61; and Anul Man, 24.

The Vietnamese are Nguyen Tuan, 23; Tran Phuong, 33; Pham Suong, 31; Tran Thanh 23; Cao Vuong, 27; Kristofer Padilla, 29 and Indonesians Jejen Priyana, 22; Kutonto Suranto 27; Tusi Ame 25 and Ifan Pandi 21.

The Filipinos are Silvano Garanes, 32; Benjamin Jrbaoalan, 33; Benjie Rosano, 34; Ignacio Dacumos, 31; Marlon Maronon, 33; Jhoan Belano, 34; Rolando Nacis and the Kenyans from Mombasa Ali Mkota, 32; Juma Kumu, 40; Jackson Toya, 39 and Zho Hanging, 40.