5 Mar 2004

Taiwanese vessel leaves New Caledonia after paying fine

3:35 pm on 5 March 2004

A Taiwanese fishing boat, the Feng Rong Sheng, has left New Caledonia after its owner paid a fine of 120,000 US dollars after being caught fishing illegally.

The Nouvelles Caledeniennes newspaper reports that the boat with its 14 strong crew has now left for Vanuatu.

The boat was intercepted in January off the Isle of Pines with 40 tonnes of fish onboard.

At the time, the captain said the boat was licensed to fish in Vanuatu waters and drifted into New Caledonia's zone because of engine troubles.

The baot's departure comes a day after the captain of another Taiwanese fishing boat began a one-year jail sentence in New Caledonia for failing to help the crew of a boat that had collided with his vessel.