Palau’s patrol boat, PSS Remeliik safely handed over the rescued Filipino fishermen to another Philippine fishing boat Saturday, Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch said.

Oilouch said PSS Remeliik left Friday afternoon with the 15 Filipino fishermen rescued from their damaged banca to meet up with another Philippine fishing boat at the EEZ boundary.


“Around noon on Saturday, I received  a call from Chief Thomas Tutii saying that the transfer of the fishermen has been made,”  Oilouch said.

MLED facilitated the repatriation of the 15 Filipino fishermen rescued last week  crewmembers of the PSS Remeliik.

The marine law officers relentlessly communicated with the owner of the boat in General Santos City to ensure the repatriation of the fishermen.

The fishermen who all hail from General Santos City were caught moored at a aggregating device (FAD) located in South East of Helen Reef The Palau marine law enforcers, during a regional patrol of Palau’s EEZ , were supposed to let them go after confiscating catches and fishing lines.

Oilouch however stressed that Palau continues to implement stringent measure against illegal fishing in its waters, however in the case of the Filipino fishermen, a decision was made between the Remeliik’s captain and the Office of the Attorney General to let them go.

He said that it will not be beneficial for both the Palau and Philippine governments to pursue prosecution of the fishermen.

“The fishermen remaining here will be bad for them and will only be a burden to the Palau government,” Oilouch said.

He also added that since the banca sunk, there is no value for Palau to keep the fishermen here.

Oilouch said it was also Palau’s responsibility to rescue the fishermen from their sinking banca.

He said at the end of the day, the decision made was the best outcome for the Palau government.  (Bernadette H. Carreon) [/restrict]