The Uruguayan Navy on Monday captured a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel after a chase that began on Sunday. Authorities found 11 tons of squid inside the ship. The crew — 14 Chinese and 14 Indonesian nationals — has reportedly been detained.
The Uruguayan Prosecutor’s Office and a branch of the navy are investigating the case to determine whether the squid was removed from Uruguayan waters and if the vessel had the required permits to fish there.
The Tactical Operations Center of the Fleet Command on Friday reported that several ships had been detected illegally operating in Uruguay’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The ship is reportedly owned by Rongcheng Rongyuan Fisher, a Chinese company which owns other vessels which were intercepted by Argentinian authorities under similar circumstances in 2020.
South American nations such as Peru and Ecuador have recently spotted “abusive fishing practices” by Chinese-flagged vessels around their respective exclusive economic zones.
A fleet was spotted by the Ecuadorian Navy in July 2020 outside the Galápagos Marine Reserve. The fleet went on to sail southward into Peru. And in December of that year, Chilean news media company T13 said over 100 Chinese ships were “all over Chile”, including inside the country’s EEZ.