7 Oct 2006

Marshalls fishing boat still being held by US authorities in Guam

9:10 am on 7 October 2006

Marshall Islands government efforts to negotiate a settlement with the United States government to gain release of a fishing vessel have been going on for nearly a month after the boat was arrested by the U.S. Coast Guard for alleged illegal fishing in the South Pacific.

The purse seiner, "Marshalls 201," has yet to be formally charged by the

U.S. Attorney on Guam, where it is being held.

The boat and its US$350,000 catch of tuna could both be confiscated if the

vessel is successfully prosecuted.

Marshall Islands officials are offering to pay a fine to get the U.S. to forego prosecution.

The Marshalls 201 which is is jointly owned by the government's fisheries department and the Majuro-based Koo's Fishing Company, was arrested on September 9, in an area straddling the boundary between the United States and Kiribati economic zones.

The Marshalls 201 was licensed to fish within the Kiribati EEZ, but is not

licensed to fish within the United States EEZ.