Navy nabs Vietnamese crew
The navy yesterday arrested 29 crew members of three Vietnamese trawlers for allegedly catching fish unlawfully in the Gulf of Thailand.
The arrests took place about 12 nautical miles northeast of natural gas platform Muda A in the exclusive economic zone while HTMS Thai Muang was on patrol.
The Vietnamese crew members were brought on board HTMS Thai Muang, which headed back to Songkhla Naval Base, while the captains of the three boats were asked to steer the trawlers to the base with navy officers on board.
According to the navy, two of the boats later sank after weathering rough waters but the captains were safe.
The boats were believed to have sunk due to punctures in holding engines at the boats' tails.
HTMS Thai Muang arrived at the base in Songkhla late yesterday morning with RAdm Montri Rodwiset, chief of staff of Navy Region 2, supervising the operation.
Naval personnel who questioned the trawlers' captains said the boats travelled from Ca Mau province of Vietnam and entered Thai waters to catch fish.
The crew members were charged with violation of the law governing the right to fish in Thai waters and the royal ordinance on fisheries, according to the navy.
The Vietnamese embassy in Thailand will be notified about the incident, while the crewmen will be sent to Muang Songkhla police to face charges and deportation.
This is the 26th time the Navy's Region 2 have arrested the crew of Vietnamese trawlers allegedly catching fish in Thai maritime territory in the 2016 fiscal year. A total of 59 fishing boats have been seized and 401 crew arrested, the navy says.