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Fishing boat released after being detained by Japan

TAIPEI--A Taiwanese fishing boat that was detained by Japanese authorities on Thursday for sailing into Japan's territorial waters and its five crew members have been released after bail was arranged, the Suao Fishermen's Association said Friday.

The 25.47-ton Suao, Yilan County-registered longline fishing boat, the “Sheng Fu Chin No. 26,” was seized by a boat belonging to Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries around 28 nautical miles northwest of Ishigaki Island.

The five crew members, consisting of skipper Wu Wan-cai and four Indonesian workers, were arrested for illegal cross-border fishing, according to the association.

The boat and the crew were released Friday after the ship's owner put up bail of 4 million Japanese yen (US$39,000), the association said. It was not sure when the ship would return to Taiwan.

Wu told Japanese authorities that as he was heading toward Japanese waters to retrieve fishing gear drifting in that direction, his boat was hit by mechanical failure and crossed into Japanese territory accidentally.

The explanation failed to convince Japanese authorities, leading to the crew's arrest and the seizure of the fishing boat, according to the association.

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