CAPTAINS of the three blue boats that illegally entered our waters and stole our marine resources will appear this Friday in the High Court.
This was after their matter was transferred from the Honiara Magistrates’ Court last week to be dealt with in the High Court.
The High Court will deal with their case and also deal with other issues such as the forfeiture of the boats as well as the fishing gears on board the blue boats.
Do Van Va, Vo Van Vi, and Nguyen Nguyen are facing charges of illegal entry into Fisheries water without an appropriate entry permit approved by Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, prohibition of catching, selling of Beche-de-mer, permitting Fishing gears on board Fishing vessel in the Fisheries waters, and engaging in activity relating to fish processing for the purpose of export without a valid license.
They were charged under various sections of the Fisheries Management Act 2015 and Fisheries (Amendment) Regulation 2009.
The maximum penalty for these offences ranges from $100,000 to $12 million fines or three years imprisonment.
The 40 crews and three captains of the three wooden blue boats have been caught by police on 26 March this year at the Indispensable Reef, 50 Kilometres south of Rennell Island, Renbel Province.
The court has extended the detention order of the 40 crew members of the blue boats to May 22.
This is to give time for the process of the payment of their fines and their repatriation to be made.
The court heard last week that 36 of the 40 crews confirmed their families will pay for their fines and repatriation cost.
It was also heard their families have sent the money to the Vietnamese Embassy in Canberra and for it to be wired to the Foreign Affairs office here.
Public Prosecutor Andrew Kelesi had told the court last week that until such time our Foreign Affairs office here confirmed that payment is received then can the 40 crews can be released.
Chief Magistrate John Numapo had ordered them last month to pay up the total fine of about SBD $33, 454.
This was after they pleaded guilty to the charges against them under the Immigration Act, being one of unlawful citizen.
They were each imposed with a $100 US dollars each, which totalled up to US $4,300 and equivalent to about SBD $33, 454.
This is pursuant to sections 28 (1) and 29 (1) read with 87 (1) of the Immigration Regulation of 2013, with a daily fine of prescribed amount of USD $20 per day for the days commencing from the date of their unlawful non-citizen in the Solomon Islands when they were sighted on the Indispensable reef near Rennell and Bellona province until the date of their arrest, on 26 March, 2017.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN