The Ecuadorian Navy reported today that it has detected the presence of a Chinese fishing fleet 200 miles from the outer limit of the exclusive economic zone of the island, close to the Galápagos Islands
In a statement, he explained that thanks to the use of the CASA AN-204 aircraft of the naval aviation, a group of approximately sixty boats were located and identified on Tuesday between fishing vessels, supply vessels and warehousing vessels.
He added that the commander-in-chief of the Navy, Rear Admiral Renán Ruiz, decided to reinforce the surveillance in the insular exclusive economic zone by deploying surface units with a platform for helicopters and coastguard boats to the Galapagos Islands.
Likewise, the director of the insular Aquatic and Coastguard Spaces ordered the departure of the oceanic coastguard fight “Isla Fernandina” towards the limit of the insular exclusive economic zone, the Navy said in the letter.
On August 13, the Chinese cargo ship “Fu yuan yu leng 999” was captured 34.5 nautical miles (63.9 kilometers) east of the island of San Cristóbal, the easternmost of the Galápagos archipelago with 600 tons of fishing, especially of sharks and other protected species and in danger of extinction.
On August 28, 2017, the Multicompetent Judicial Unit of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno sentenced the captain of the ship to four years in prison and established three years’ imprisonment for his close aides and one year for the rest of the crew members.
That sentence also set compensation and staggered fines ranging from 127,000 to two million dollars.
The apprehended ship was delivered to the state-owned company Real, which, in turn, decided to loan the vessel to the Ecuadorian Navy for logistics tasks in the coastal strip of the country and the Galapagos Islands.
However, at the end of last year, an Ecuadorian court agreed to return a cargo ship of that nationality to the Chinese company.
The Criminal Chamber of the Court of Justice of the province of Guayas (whose capital is Guayaquil) accepted, partially, the appeal filed by the defense of the ship, which was seized in principle by order of the Ecuadorian judicial authority.
The judges of the Guayaquil court (southwest) ordered the return of the ship, prior to the payment of an indemnity of six million dollars, according to the then-Directorate of the Galapagos National Park.
The magistrates ratified most of the sentence issued on August 28 by the Multicompetent Judicial Unit of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the island province of Galapagos.
In addition, they reduced the order of imprisonment against the captain of the ship from four to three years, to whom they declared as the material perpetrator of the crime, a similar sentence for the three assistants who were declared co-authors, while the 16 crew members were charged as accomplices and to comply with a year of prison.
The archipelago of Galápagos is located about a thousand kilometers west of the continental coasts of Ecuador and is one of the 24 provinces that make up this South American country.
Formed by thirteen large islands, six minor islands and 42 islets, the Galapagos contain a unique fauna and flora in the world, both terrestrial and marine, and is the habitat of giant tortoises to which it owes its name.
Because of its rich biodiversity, it is considered a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species.
The Galapagos Islands were declared in 1978 a World Heritage Site by Unesco. (I)