Vietnamese 'blue boats'

70 Vietnamese boats in New Caledonia waters illegally

The commander of the French navy in the territory Jean-Louis Fournier, said 55 vessels had been warned and five had been detained.

Five captains were now serving eight to 10 months in a New Caledonian jail for illegal fishing and 30 fishermen have been flown home.

The commander said those on board the "blue boats" had no identification papers and no money but were determined to dive for beche-de-mer as part of well organised fleets.

He said the boats took weeks to get from Vietnam to New Caledonia's waters where they had engaged in fights with local fishermen.

Vietnamese captain to be tried in New Caledonia

Reports from New Caledonia say the man was presented to a judge and remanded in custody.

His vessel was intercepted by the French military last week near the Chesterfield Islands which lies about 500 kilometers off the main island.

The navy vessel took the 17 crew on board and sailed them to Noumea.

Last month, the captains of three Vietnamese blue boats were jailed for illegal fishing.

Their crew however escaped on two boats from Noumea.


Photo: AFP A Vietnamese "blue boat".