Fishing vessel safe after tailed by unknown ship

A Taiwanese fishing vessel has been reported safe after it claimed that it was followed by an unknown warship while operating in the nation's overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs) with the Philippines on Sunday morning.

The Pingtung-registered "Cheng Te Hui" (????) told the Liuqiu Township Fishermen's Association that it was followed by an unidentified warship while operating in the Taiwan-Philippines overlapping EEZs in the South China Sea around 9:50 a.m. Sunday.

Tsai Pao-hsing (???), secretary-general of the association said the skipper of the vessel claimed the warship was following them from two nautical miles away but did not disturb their operations.

Tsai said the incident made fishermen nervous because it came at a sensitive time when Taiwanese and Japanese coastguard vessels were in a standoff in the waters surrounding the Okinotori atoll in the Pacific Ocean, the area where a Taiwanese vessel was seized by Japanese authorities late last month.

The association later reported the case to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA, ???), which immediately said that it would be dispatching a nearby patrol vessel, a new 1,000-ton vessel the "Taoyuan" (??) to waters near the "Cheng Te Hui" as soon as possible.

About two hours later, the CGA and the fishing vessel established contact with the latter stating that the warship had left the scene and that it had resumed its normal operations.

The association said it has been warning Taiwanese fishing vessels against entering waters 12-24 nautical miles off the Philippines coast with the arrival of the bluefin tuna season, as they could face arrest and detention.

Source: China Post