The Marine Law Enforcement Division (MLED) is facilitating the repatriation of the 15 Filipino fishermen rescued this week by crewmembers of the PSS Remeliik from their damage motorbanca.
MLED Director Thomas Tutii said they want to see the safe return of the fishermen and that there has been continued effort by the division to contact the owner of the boat in General Santos City.
Tutii said the plan is for Remeliik to hand over the Filipino fishermen to another vessel that the owner will deploy at Philippine-Palau border.
The fishermen who all hail from General Santos City were caught moored at a aggregating device (FAD) located in South East of Helen Reef, Sunday. The Palau marine law enforcers, during a regional patrol of Palau’s EEZ , were supposed to let them go after confiscating their catches and fishing lines.
However the motor banca suffered engine trouble, forcing PSS Remeliik to tow the vessel to the nearest shore to allow the captain to fix the engine.
The fishermen were transferred to the patrol boat after rough seas damaged the banca’s outriggers.
Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch said that no charges are being filed against the fishermen and that the focus is their safety in returning home.
The MLED aims to deploy Remeliik for the repatriation today. (Bernadette Carreon) [/restrict]