Errant Chinese fishing trawler escorted out of Taiwan

Fishing trawler. Credit: Chang Ying-Wan

A Chinese fishing vessel was slapped with a fine and escorted out of Taiwanese waters after an altercation with the Taiwan Coast Guard. On 21 August 2019, the fishing vessel, Min Shi Yu 07558, was spotted fishing illegally near Yongan Fishing port in Taoyuan city.

Taiwan Coast Guard personnel ordered the vessel to stop for inspections, but the vessel attempted to flee. As the coastguard pursued, there was a collision between its patrol vessel and Min Shi Yu 07558. Eventually, the fishing vessel and its 16-member crew were detained.

Besides the TWD1.8 million (USD57,943) fine, the owner of Min Shi Yu 07558 was also ordered to foot the TWD2.5 million bill for repairs of the patrol vessel. The fine was based on the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, which guides cross-strait relations.

On 2 October 2019, Min Shi Yu 07558 and its crew members were escorted out of Taiwanese waters by the Taiwan Coast Guard. Due to frequent encroachments of Chinese fishing vessels in the Taiwan Strait and recent incidents involving Chinese naval ships, the Taiwan Coast Guard will install anti-collision systems on 17 newly built patrol vessels. The glass fibre hull of the Taiwan Coast Guard vessels means that any collision poses danger to the personnel and obstructs their duties.

On 30 June 2019, a Chinese oil tanker collided with a Taiwanese patrol vessel, and the Taiwan Coast Guard chased the oil tanker to demand an inspection. The pursuit saw the coastguard personnel jumping onto the tanker to apprehend all of its seven crew members.

On 31 July 2019, a Taiwanese cargo ship, You Tai No 1, was involved in an alleged fender bender with a Chinese armoured vessel.

Ever since the Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949, after its defeat by the Communists in the Chinese Civil War, the island has been regarded by mainland China as a renegade province. This has resulted in tense relations between Taiwan and mainland China, which has threatened military action if the former declares independence.

Prolonged unrest by protesters clamouring for more autonomy for Hong Kong has only increased cross-strait tensions, with Taiwanese people seen marching in Taipei to support Hong Kong protesters.