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'The fishermen who saw their work affected quickly photographed the incident and shared it on social networks'. (Photo: illustrative)

Under the nose of the Minister of Production: irregular entry of a Chinese squid jigger occurs with serious questions

Click on the flag for more information about Peru PERU
Friday, April 19, 2024, 19:00 (GMT + 9)

Last night, April 18, a hundred artisanal fishermen from the Port of Chimbote, in the Ancash Region, had to stop their fishing tasks because an immense Chinese fishing boat appeared in front of them that, despite being thousands of miles away, kilometers from its coasts, he sailed calmly as if he were at home and enjoyed protection. This vessel, according to the fishermen, would be sailing very close to the facilities of the Servicios Industriales de la Marina shipyard, known as SIMA Chimbote, a Peruvian government company dedicated to the maintenance of fishing vessels.
 
Sima has a history of having repaired Chinese jigger vessels
 
The fishermen who saw their work affected quickly photographed the incident and shared it on social networks. Immediately this unusual fact went viral and became public knowledge. This allowed the tremendous steel vessel to be identified as the Chinese ship JIN HAI 728, with a hold capacity of 500 cubic meters and a length of 45 meters, belonging to the Zhoushan Jin Hai Ocean Fishery company. This is dedicated to squid fishing on the high seas thanks to an authorization granted by the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO-PS), of which Peru is also a member.
 
   
Photos: artisanal fishermen social media
 
This is not the first time that this vessel has made headlines. The renowned American journalist Ian Urbina, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, came across this vessel while doing his series of reports The Outlaw Ocean Project for the prestigious The New York Times. Urbina had the opportunity to document and communicate to the world that the ship, which today could be found inside the shipyard owned by the Peruvian State, was captured on video in 2019 while its crew placed a dying Indonesian crew member in a coffin, instead to provide him with due assistance.
 
Photo:  The Outlaw Ocean Project/YouTube
 
The president of the Association of Artisanal Fishermen and Shipowners of Caleta de Parachique in Sechura, Henry Juárez, who has also spent years documenting apparently illegal entries of Chinese vessels into the Peruvian sea, explains that, in the past, these vessels turned off their satellite equipment to entering Peru to fish illegally. “As these incursions were a global scandal thanks to our complaints, the government was forced to issue Supreme Decree No. 016-2020-PRODUCE, establishing that every foreign ship that operates on squid in international waters must install satellite tracking from the Peruvian government. if you want to use the maintenance services that the government itself offers.”
 
This regulation to which Juárez refers allowed vessels that did not want to submit to the new standard of monitoring, control and surveillance not to enter Peruvian ports. Thus, given the Chinese operators' refusal to install the satellite device, income to Peru went from an average of 180 Chinese ships per year to only a handful of vessels. “Practically these vessels did not enter during 2021 and 2022; until, in May of last year, after the visit of the Chinese Ambassador to the former vice minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Desilú León [now secretary general of the Ministry of Production], Chinese vessels began to enter again without using the satellite device”. For this reason, Juárez says disconsolately, “from the artisanal fishing sector, we consider that the regulations that protected our sea have been repealed. Only, conveniently, they have forgotten to publish it in the Official Gazette El Peruano.”
 
To date, the Minister of Production, Sergio González Guerrero, has not commented on this issue. However, the General Directorate of Supervision, Inspection and Sanction has communicated through a memorandum that the vessel in question has been in the Port of Chimbote since April 4 and that it has entered Peru without using the satellite device mandated by law. . Furthermore, she entered stating that the reason for her presence in Peru was related to the need to change crew. Likewise, according to the public access portal Global Fishing Watch, said vessel had stopped transmitting its coordinates, a fact that made it difficult to track its position in the last 14 days until it was reported by the fishermen. Clearly, the General Directorate headed by Javier Alfonso Gaviola Tejada, a retired Vice Admiral of the Peruvian Navy, failed to guarantee compliance with the regulations for the control of the Peruvian sea.
 
“Not even the most inefficient crew change takes more than two weeks, nor are these types of operations carried out inside the dry dock of a shipyard. Clearly here there is a desire to provide facilities to allow the irregular entry of this vessel,” said Juárez. This would respond to systematic behavior since, in 2023, as reported by the organization specialized in satellite technology Artis0nal, 12 Chinese vessels were allowed similar entries.
 
Minister González, who has just taken office, has the opportunity to make responsible decisions on this matter and not repeat what was done by his predecessors, Raúl Pérez Reyes and Ana María Choquehuanca. These allowed Chinese vessels to enter Peruvian ports and shipyards without the use of the satellite device required by regulations. If González seeks to make a difference, he should only require these vessels to install satellite devices.


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