Russian boats held in Somalia for illegal fishing
SOMALIA, 13.March 2001
Two Russian fishing vessels are being held in the port of Kismayo, 500
south of Mogadishu. The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS said that they
being held by armed groups, in a report monitored by the BBC on 10
It said the joint crew of boats MV-Horizon-1 and MV-Horizon-2 consisted
eight Russians and 20 Kenyans. A message had been passed to the Kenya
fishery controlling body saying that the hostages needed urgent medical
aid and food.
A Kismayo resident told IRIN that Somali businessmen were holding the
boats - not the crew - claiming they were owed money by the owners. He
said the owners of the boats were said to owe a combined total of just
over US $100,000. "Most of the Kenyan crew has already left for
the businessman said from Kismayo. The Russians have continued to stay
the boats, and come into Kismayo occasionally.
Representatives of the owners of the fishing boats have been to Kismayo
and made contact with the businessmen. According to the source, they
promised to pay an agreed sum. Most of the money the businessmen are
claiming was in the form of fuel, food, water provided, and payment for
consignments of shrimp caught in the Kismayo waters.
The government-owned Kenyan daily 'Kenya Times' said on 9 March that
reports "indicate that the two Belize registered vessels and crew... are
held over accusations of illegally fishing in the Somali waters." It
in the shallow waters off Kenya has just been outlawed.
International fishing fleets and unscrupulous Somali businessmen have
advantage of the absence of a central government presence in Somalia
1991 and exploit the Somali shores, diplomatic sources told IRIN.
"Belize, an unscrupulous state, notoriously providing illegal fishing
with their "flag of convenience"-registration must now be excluded from
international bodies like the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of
United Nations) and the International Whaling Commision (IWC), where the
representatives of Belize usually just vote for the interest of the
poachers", a spokesman for ECOTERRA Intl. stated. He added "One point
must be clear: The Somali People have a right to defend their waters
any of those illegal fishing activities, which are clearly violating the
Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ratified by the international community in
The Pirates here are the Russians and their helpers, acting against the
of the Somali People and against international agreements."
All coastal states of Africa should bann these trawlers from their 200nm
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and their harbours, since these vessels
misusing the local facilities to launch their poaching operations along
Indian Ocean coast, in the Gulf of Aden and in the West-African waters,
COAST WATCH KENYA, a local NGO, demanded in a faxed
Somalia repeatedly had called to the international community to assist
the fight against illegal fishing activities and toxic waste dumping off
3.300 km long coast.
SOURCES: IRIN; ECOTERRA Intl.; CWK (Coast Watch Kenya);
NDRMC Mogadishu and Kismayo
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