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07 Feb 2018

Chinese fishing trawlers spotted off Shelly Beach

Juan Venter (South Coast Herald) Picture: The Yang Ming 8001.

Of the six vessels suspected to have fished illegally in South African waters, three had seemingly switched off their transponders – meaning that they could not be monitored electronically.

Whether South African waters were again being pillaged by foreign fishing vessels was but one of the questions asked on social media last Friday after six Chinese fishing vessels had been seen just off Shelly Beach.

Claims were made that the vessels were fishing illegally; however, due to a lack of staff employed within the communications department at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, our request for details for the vessels went unanswered.

Making use of an online marine vessel tracking application, the Mail was able to locate the six vessels, later identified as Yaog Ming 8012, Yang Ming 8008, Yang Ming 8032, Yang Ming 8002, Yang Ming 8007 and Yang Ming 8001.

Of the six vessels alleged to have fished illegally in South African waters, three had seemingly switched off their transponders – meaning that they could not be monitored electronically.

The Yaog Ming 8012’s last received position remains off Shelly Beach.

It was last updated on February 1 and no further updates had been received at the time of going to print.

Two other vessels, the Yang Ming 8002 and Yang Ming 8007, can no longer be found and have seemingly disappeared.

The remaining vessels were last operating off the coast between Port Shepstone and Hibberdene before the Mail lost track of their current positions.