Samut Sakhon – Police are preparing to press charges against the owners of a fishing boat following a massive catch found at a pier in Samut Sakhon province. Head of Legal Affairs and Litigation Office Pol Lt Gen Charuwat Waisaya, interrogated Prawit Kerdsuwan, the captain of the Chotchainavee 35 vessel on suspicion of illegal fishing and human trafficking.
The inquiry came after SVG Fisheries Development Co. Ltd. requested to moor the vessel to unload in Samut Sakhon. During the inspection, authorities found that the boat carried a fishing license issued by Puntland, Somalia, which allows a maximum catch of 270 tonnes. The actual haul was found to be greater than 500 tonnes.
The inspection also found that the boat, with a crew of 22 Thais and one Cambodian, was illegal. Charges are being pressed against Green Laurel International SARL, the legal entity that owns the boat, its executives Supachote Saengsuk-iam and Surakan Saengsuk-iam, SVG Fisheries Development, and Wanchai Saengsuk-iam, the boat’s actual owner.
Supachote and Wanchai have turned themselves in to the police, but have denied all charges, saying they would testify in court. Surakan reportedly plans to turn herself in, after failing to answer two summons.
The two companies, their executives, and the boat’s owner could face a fine of 1-30 million baht, if found guilty of bringing a foreign fishing vessel into the Kingdom without permission. Police are also launching a probe to see whether the case involves human trafficking.