CFV disables VMS in municipal waters; FPLEG 8 responds and apprehends the alleged offender

A medium-scale Commercial Fishing Vessel with disabled Vessel Monitoring Measures (VMS) cable connection was caught operating within the municipal waters of Guiuan, Eastern Samar on January 29, 2022.

The Fisheries Protection and Law Enforcement Group (FPLEG) 8 and the Philippine National Police- Maritime Group intercepted the said CFV during their regular seaborne operation within Leyte Gulf. Upon inspection, they discovered that its Certificate of Clearance(COC) is already expired and the installed VMM cable connection has been disabled. Hence, violating Section 119 (Noncompliance with Vessel Monitoring Measures) of the amended Fisheries Code of the Philippines. If proven guilty, the vessel owner will be facing suspension or revocation of the CFV’s license and an administrative fine amounting to P500,000.

Multiple violations of the RA 8550 as amended by RA 10654 have been allegedly committed by the CFV and its highest officers, which include the following: Section 86 or Unauthorized Fishing for fishing within municipal waters; Section 113 or Commercial Fishing Vessel Operators Employing Unlicensed Fisherfolk, Fishworker or Crew since six out of its 18 crew members were not able to present their fisherfolks’ ID while its boat captain failed to show his valid license as a boat captain; Section 89 or Unreported Fishing for being unable to present its Logbook containing the records of its Fish Catch; Section 108 as it failed to comply with the minimum safety standard requirement when conducting the fishing operation. The seized fish catch with an estimated weight of 4,600 kilos and market value of Php252,000 have been distributed to charitable institutions and hospitals in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, and Tacloban City for proper disposition.

To date, the CFV is temporarily impounded at the FPLEG Guiuan substation for proper custody and safekeeping. The apprehending team is also conducting further investigation and preparing all the necessary documents for the filing of appropriate charges.