MOFA assists vessel detained by Russia
By Joseph Yeh ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese fishing boat and its crew were being detained yesterday by Russian authorities after they were arrested for allegedly fishing within the country's economic waters earlier this month, Deputy Foreign Minister Simon Ko (柯森耀) said yesterday.
October 18, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The Kaohsiung-registered Shang Chia Yi (尚佳億號) vessel was caught operating in North Pacific Ocean waters near Russia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Oct. 7, Ko said yesterday.
Ko said the vessel was later towed to nearby Sakhalin Island and Russia authorities are currently investigating its Taiwanese skipper and its crews over their alleged involvement in illegal fishing in the country's EEZ.
Upon learning the news, Taiwan's representative office in Moscow immediately sent interpreters and lawyers to help the skipper handle the legal procedure over the incident. Taiwan also conveyed concern and demanded that Russian authorities ensure that the Taiwanese skipper and crew be treated humanely, Ko said.
Ko made the remarks during a legislative session yesterday when asked by a lawmaker to comment on the incident.
According to Taiwan Fishery Agencies, the 700-ton vessel had 44 crewmen aboard. Two of them are Taiwanese nationals while the rest are Chinese, Indonesian and Philippines nationals, it said.
The vessel departed from southern Kaohsiung Harbor in mid-June, heading to the North Pacific Ocean to capture Pacific saury, the agency said.
Taiwan to Push for New Eastern Russia Office
Meanwhile, Ko yesterday said his ministry is still pushing to open a representative office in Vladivostok, Russia, but so far no concrete results have been achieved.
During previous Democratic Progressive Party administrations, Taiwan had planned to open an office at the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean.
However, the proposal was later suspended because the ministry was unable to receive support from the Russian authorities, Ko said.
But the ministry has not given up on the proposal and has been repeatedly told Russia authorities on opening a representative office at Vladivostok, he said.
Currently, Taiwan's only representative office in the vast territory of Russia is located in the nation's capital city of Moscow.
Ko said it is important for Taiwan to open a new office in Vladivostok because the port city located near Russia's borders with China and North Korea is closer to Taiwan.
Also, many Taiwanese fishing vessels are operating in the nearby seas, which makes it of significant importance for Taiwan to establishing an office in the city to offer assistance to Taiwanese nationals in case of need, he said