The Colombian navy detained a Jamaican fishing boat with approximately three tons of fish in Colombian waters on Wednesday, reports Caracol Radio.
The boat, the “Captain Romeo,” and its twenty Jamaican occupants, were detained about 20 miles from the Serranilla islands in the Caribbean Sea, and later towed by the navy to Colombia’s San Andres island.
It was reported that the boat had suffered from mechanical failure.
According to Colombian authorities in San Andres, the captain of the Jamaican fishing boat admitted that he had improperly entered into Colombian waters.
The captain explained that his crew had not obtained the necessary permissions from Jamaican authorities to enter Colombian waters, and that their operators’ licenses were expired.
“The boat had expired licenses from Jamaican authorites, and didn’t have permission to fish in Colombian waters,” an official from Colombia’s navy said, adding that the three ton haul of fish, with an estimated value of COP30 million, would be turned over to the port authority and secretary of agriculture and fishing of San Andres.
The area surrounding the Serranilla islands have been the focus of maritime disputes between several countries for years.
Colombia, which officially administers the area, granted Jamaica fishing access to specific parts of the area in 1994.
The detention of the Jamaican fishing boat comes amidst the ongoing efforts of the Colombian government to secure the release of 23 Colombian fisherman who were detained by Nicaraguan authorities for “illegal fishing” in their territorial waters.
Colombia rejected the detention, claiming it was “illegal,” and “a flagrant violation” of the norms and principles of international law.