Thailand arrests 38 Vietnamese fishers, seizes 7 vessels: report

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Five of the seven Vietnamese boats seized in Thai waters are berthed at the Songkhla naval base on Saturday. Photo credit: Thailand Second Naval Area Five of the seven Vietnamese boats seized in Thai waters are berthed at the Songkhla naval base on Saturday. Photo credit: Thailand Second Naval Area

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Seven Vietnamese vessels have been seized and 38 crewmen and skippers arrested for illegal fishing in the Gulf of Thailand in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, the Bangkok Post reported yesterday.
Naval officers from the patrol ships HTMS Narathiwat and HTMS Khlong Yai spotted the Vietnamese vessels fishing off Koh Kra, an island 30 nautical miles from the coast of the southern province on Friday.
The seized vessels, their crewmen and skippers were taken to the Second Naval Area’s Songkhla naval base on Saturday. The suspects were later handed over to Songkhla police for legal action.
Rear Adm Sompop Suriyalankarn, deputy commander of the Second Naval Area, said that offshore patrol ships and helicopters made regular patrols to crack down on foreign vessels fishing illegally in Thai waters.
Earlier on Thursday, Malaysian authorities arrested 25 Vietnamese fishers on three boats in separate raids, The New Straits Times reported.
A patrol team of the Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) seized the boats, fishing equipment and catch worth RM2.4 million (US$600).
MMEA chief Zainol Abidin Jusoh said 25 crew members, aged between 26 and 42, were found without valid documents.
"Initial investigations revealed that all the crew members in the three boats were carrying out illegal fishing activities in our waters," Jusoh said.
MMEA also arrested 42 Vietnamese fishers and seized three boats in two raids some 51 nautical miles off Kuala Terengganu on March 10 and 11. More than 8 tons of catch worth more than $48,000 were confiscated.

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