Donations of food and gas supplies were provided to the detained Chinese fishermen who complained that they were running out of food. The donations of propane gas and food such as rice and chicken were delivered to the accused poachers on December 24th, the day before Christmas. The donation was supplied by several individuals, including former President Johnson Toribiong, and was delivered to the 28 detainees by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Following their capture of a Chinese vessel poaching off of Helen Reef, the 19-man crew of the Remeliik II completed their 14-day quarantine aboard the patrol boat and have been allowed to come ashore. However, the 28 Chinese nationals, who are quarantining aboard their fishing vessel, remain in quarantine for an additional week.
During their first week of quarantine, Director Victor Remengesau of the Bureau of Maritime Security & Fish and Wildlife Protection said that the Chinese vessel was carrying plenty of supplies, which the Ministry of Justice was expecting the detainees to use up before being given more.
Director Remengesau said that the crew of the Remeliik was not prepared for a long quarantine and had gone through most of their supplies during the patrol. Marine Law delivered more food to the Remeliik crew during their first week back.
The Remeliik’s crew was released after all members received negative COVID test results.
The Division of Marine Law Enforcement has said that the Office of the Attorney General is determining charges for the detained fishermen, who poached an estimated 500 pounds of sea cucumber in a protected area, based upon the outcomes of the investigation. Vice President Raynold Oilouch will reportedly be sending a letter to China regarding the detainment once the investigation is complete and charges have been made.
Subsequent investigations of the Chinese vessel by Marine Law officers uncovered $20 thousand in US currency, in addition to tobacco and liquor, which had been offered in attempted bribery to the PAN Rangers at Helen Reef who first spotted the vessel, according to the Rangers’ report. The bribery goods were confiscated by Marine Law, in addition to the illegal catch.
The twenty-eight fishermen have allegedly been assigned a Defense Attorney by the Office of the Public Defender.
Director Remengesau confirmed reports that, during the Remeliik’s interception and arrest on December 10 of the 80-foot Chinese vessel at Helen Reef, it was joined by US Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard, which had been dispatched out of Guam to help in the arrest, and had conducted boarding of the vessel. The US Coast Guard also dispatched an HC-130 Hercules search plane out of Hawaii to help in the location of the vessel, but the interception and arrest was made prior to the plane’s arrival.
Director Remengesau says that it is likely the Chinese vessel will eventually be escorted back outside Palau’s territorial waters by the Remeliik II, following the investigation and charges.

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