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Strong winds delay Sinking mission

Strong winds and massive waves have made it difficult for the Papua New Guinea Defence Force and National Fisheries Authority to destroy two illegal fishing vessels, yesterday.

The joint task is a result of a District Court order, to sink the vessels after the 50 illegal Vietnamese fishermen, on board those vessels were sentenced to four years imprisonment.

Naval officers onboard HMSPNG Buna tied the two illegal boats to the Naval vessel’s port Buna, before heading out.

After about 2 hours, the seas started to get rough. There were very strong winds with huge swells hitting against the naval vessel.

The naval officers then moved to plan B, which was to tow the blue boats through the rough seas.

The mission to sink the illegal boats continued for at least one more hour, before the sailors were faced with yet another challenge.

The towlines snapped, cutting off the illegal vessels from HMPNGS Buna.

The waves were too strong that it tossed the naval vessel from side to side.

After three attempts to continue the journey, all the lines on board Buna broke away, focusing PNGDF and NFA to abort the mission, and return to Port Moresby.

These boats were seized during a border operation between the PNG Defence Force and Australian Border Authorities in December 2016.

The illegal fishermen on board those vessels were found guilty of stealing sea cucumbers off the coast of Milne Bay.

All the fishermen were sentenced to 4 years imprisonment and are currently serving their jail terms at Bomana Prison.

The court order to sink the vessels is a strong message the District Court in Papua New Guinea is sending to illegal fishermen, from the Asian countries not to steal marine resources in PNG waters.

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