Vietnamese Fishermen to be Repatriated After Jumping Ship in Bluff

The three Vietnamese crew members who jumped ship in Bluff are being sent home.

An Immigration New Zealand spokesman said they had finished interviewing the three fishing crew members and arrangements were now being made to fly the men home.

The crew members jumped ship Monday night, hours after the Korean fishing vessel Southern Ocean docked in Bluff.

The immigration spokesman said in this case the cost of repatriation would be covered by the shipping agent, with the men being repatriated by the fishing company.

Crew repatriation forms part of the services provided by shipping agents as the local representative of a vessel’s owners, with costs incurred in repatriating crew being passed on to the vessel’s owners.

The spokesman said that as the crew members were never granted entry permission to New Zealand they were technically not being deported.

He said that any relevant information that arose during the immigration department’s interviews with the men would be passed on to appropriate agencies, with various information sharing agreements with other government agencies in place.

While fishing in the Southern ocean, the vessel, which is licensed to fish for Antarctic toothfish, suffered an incident which resulted in the death of one crew member on November 20 while another received moderate injuries.Korean Fishing Vessel

The injured crew member was transported to Southland Hospital for treatment, with Immigration New Zealand granting him a two week visa for medical treatment.

New Zealand police investigated the death on behalf of the coroner, and the vessel was allowed to depart on Tuesday afternoon without the three missing crew members on board.

The crew members were originally believed to have remained on South Port property, but were eventually found in the southern outskirts of Invercargill early on Wednesday morning after police responded to a call from a member of the public.


Source:  The Southland Times