Chinese vessels clone license plates and turn off satellite location near Ecuadorian waters
August 6, 2020, 8:05 pm
- Fleet has increased from 260 to 340
- Foreign vessels, mainly Chinese, are turning their locators on and off, or permanently disabling them
- Chinese vessels are “cloning” licenses to create the appearance that these vessels are flown under another flag or are currently located elsewhere
- The Chinese fleet’s departure in September was already going to happen – they typically stay from June-August each year. They issued a moratorium for a time when they already planned to leave
The Chinese ships and the Ecuadorian navy are separated by an imaginary line.
The Ecuadorian navy, which has been monitoring the fleet for two months, has confirmed that a huge foreign fleet has increased from 260 to 340 vessels, mostly Chinese, which are a few meters from Ecuadorian waters.
But they have also revealed additional information that there are boats which turn off the satellite location system. The National Director of Aquatic Spaces, Lenin Sanchez, mentions that Ecuador still manages to identify them.
“In 25%, a good number of them turn [the locator] off and on, and others permanently turn [the locator] off,” indicates Sánchez.
There is also evidence of a suspected “cloning of the registration or identity of the vessels” that are part of the foreign fishing fleet.
For example, the code of this boat belongs to the Chinese flag, but that registration also appears in international systems of aquatic spaces with the Argentine flag and presumably this boat is in a port in that country.
“There are several cases, I cannot specify the number. Our Foreign Ministry will touch on the subject in the negotiations that have begun to take place,” Sánchez said.
This is one of the monitoring centers where it is observed that the foreign fleet continues bordering the exclusive area of the Galapagos. The authorities have identified that the ships have arrived since May 2017. They remain there during the months of June, July and August, then leave until next year, when they return to these waters.
Even so, one of the agreements that China proposes in the middle of the talks with Ecuador is a ban that will begin in September and end in November, precisely the months in which there is no foreign fleet presence. Chinese Ambassador Chen Guoyou said that he will carry out the consultation with his country.
At a press conference he also referred to the support that the US gave Ecuador to monitor the Chinese fishing fleet.
“I would like to tell the American side to focus more on doing its job instead of getting into the problems of other countries and not to destroy the friendship between China and Ecuador,” Guoyou said.
This qualifies as a great achievement for both Ecuador and China, as both countries hold technical meetings to preserve the endangered species that are in the Galapagos maritime reserve for the first time.
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