1 Dec 2004

Fiji company accuses French navy of seizing vessel illegally

3:21 pm on 1 December 2004

A Fiji fishing company says it is trying to recover one of its vessels which it claims has been seized by the French navy inside Vanuatu waters.

Graham Southwick, the managing director of Fiji Fish Marketing, says the vessel was intercepted 22 miles inside Vanuatu waters while catching tuna on a Vanuatu licence.

Mr Southwick says Vanuatu has protested to France for sending its navy into Vanuatu waters.

He says the catch is perishable tuna which is worth about 150,000 US dollars.

"Our company representative is over there, Fiji foreign affairs have been become involved in it, the French ambassador in Fiji has become involved in it and of course Vanuatu people have protested vigorously that this has happened to a vessel that is properly licensed in Vanuatu waters."

Graham Southwick of Fiji Fish Marketing