Argentina’s coastguard detained a Falkand Islands-registered fishing vessel suspected of operating illegally in Argentina’s so-called “economic exclusion zone” in the South Atlantic.
A coastguard statement last night identified the vessel as the John Cheek and said it was being escorted to Comodoro Rivadavia, an Argentine port 945 miles south of Buenos Aires.
Coastguard inspectors boarded the vessel without resistance and found 31 crew members aboard a ship carrying a load of 100 tons of fish and squid, the independent Argentine news agency Noticias Argentinas reported.
Argentina claims an “economic exclusion zone” stretching some 200 nautical miles off its coastline and authorities were quoted as telling Noticias Argentinas that the fishing vessel was stopped just inside that boundary.
Fishing vessels seized in Argentine territorial waters have in the past been ordered to pay heavy fines or had their catches seized if found operating without appropriate licences.
There was no immediate response from authorities in the Falklands, a South Atlantic archipelago that is called ”Las Malvinas” by the Argentine government and that was the focus of a brief war with Britain in 1982.
The 1982 war began when Argentina’s military government captured the islands, which this South American nation has long claimed as its own.
Britain recaptured the archipelago in a conflict in which 649 Argentines and 272 Britons died.