Philippine authorities have detained a vessel crewed by four Vietnamese nationals after it was caught fishing illegally off Tawi-Tawi province in the Southern Philippines.
An inter-agency task force consisting of personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Army sighted and seized the suspect vessel near Tawi-Tawi's Turtle Islands on Friday, August 16.
The Vietnamese-manned vessel was found to be unregistered and lacking any legal documents.
The joint task force took the fishing boat and its crew into custody for the filing of appropriate charges. Also confiscated was the vessel's unauthorised catch of sea cucumbers, which were found in one large and three small onboard containers.
The Vietnamese fishermen will likely be charged with violating the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems Act and the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act of 1992 as the area where they were caught operating illegally is home to a marine wildlife sanctuary and protected area.
The Turtle Islands wildlife sanctuary is currently being considered for inclusion in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
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