2 Dec 2004

Owner of fishing vessel seized by French Navy off New Caledonia says they may sue

6:44 pm on 2 December 2004

One of the owners of a fishing vessel which was seized by the French Navy last week says they may now sue the French authorities for up to 200 thousand US dollars.

The French Navy claims the boat was illegally fishing in New Caledonia's exclusive economic zone.

But Fiji Fish Marketing managing director, Graham Southwick, says the boat was in Vanuatu waters where it's licensed to fish.

The boat has since been released, with the French authorities describing it as a one off measure of leniency.

Mr Southwick says it's too late for the ship's cargo of perishable tuna, and they are now considering legal action.

"I would say it would be spoilt at this moment and they're looking at a potential claim now, probably around two hundred thousand, it would be against the territory of New Caledonia, the French government, the French Navy, whoever."

Fiji Fish Marketing managing director, Graham Southwick,