Nicaraguan Navy Captures 2 Honduran Fishing Boats

March 14, 2008

TEGUCIGALPA – The Nicaraguan Navy eized two Honduran fishing boats with more than two dozen crewmen last weekend in the Caribbean, a Honduran navy spokesman said Sunday.

The seizure occurred March 8 “in national fishing banks,” Capt.Marcio Martínez told the press, noting that Nicaraguan officials “claim that the captures were in their waters.”

The two ships “are of Honduran registry with 26 crewmen aboard,” all from GuanajaIsland, the navy spokesman said, adding that officials were working to get the men released.

“We are verifying exactly where they were captured,”Martínez said, insisting that the area where the boats were seized “always has belonged to our country.”

The Nicaraguan Navy, meanwhile, confirmed that it seized the two boats with 28 Honduran and Colombian crewmen for fishing illegally in its territorial waters.

Capt. Eduardo Sanders, commander of Nicaraguan naval forces in the northern Caribbean, told reporters that boats were seized northeast of Cayos Miskitos, in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region.

The two fishing boats impounded are the Mister Gieson and the Shooting Star, Sanders said, adding that the vessels were operating with the permission of the Colombian government and had taken 363 kilos of lobster and fish from Nicaraguan waters.

The boats were taken to the port of El Bluff, on Nicaragua’s southern Caribbean region, and the crews would be turned over to immigration officials.

Nicaraguan navy ships have seized six Honduran fishing boats in less than a month in territorial waters. Nicaragua has increased patrols in the Caribbean in response to a territorial dispute with Colombia.

The Honduran navy spokesman acknowledged that there had been boundary changes “due to the ruling” by the

World Court

on the Central American countries’ maritime limits.

On Oct. 8, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in favor of Honduras, giving it sovereignty over four disputed islands in the Caribbean Sea, but it rejected Tegucigalpa’s claim that the boundary with Nicaragua should run along the 15th parallel of north latitude.

In so doing, the international court established a new boundary following a line roughly bisecting the competing claims of Honduras and Nicaragua, and respecting the waters around the islands under Honduran sovereignty.

As a result of the ruling, sovereignty over rich fishing grounds and offshore oil and gas concessions was finally established.

The new maritime boundary between the countries begins three nautical miles off the coast at the mouth of the CocoRiver.

Establishing the border was difficult since the river’s mouth constantly shifts.

The court said Managua and Tegucigalpa must negotiate how to divide the three miles between a marker set up on land at the mouth of the CocoRiver according to the 1962 Mixed Commission and the now-established maritime boundary.

The

World Court

is also ruling on Nicaragua’s maritime border with Colombia.

 

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