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The Spanish vessel Playa Plesmar Uno. (Photo: Argentine Naval Prefecture)

Spanish ship admits fishing in Argentine waters due to ' GPS error'

Click on the flag for more information about Argentina ARGENTINA
Friday, February 09, 2018, 22:50 (GMT + 9)

The owner of the Playa Pesmar Uno has acknowledged that the vessel, which was captured on Sunday by a Coast Guard from the Argentine Naval Prefecture (PNA), fished a few hours within the exclusive economic zone of Argentina, but claimed that it was due to "an error of GPS navigators."

The ship remains moored in the port of Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut, waiting for the National Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture to issue a sanction.

The company that owns the freezer vessel, Pesquerias Marinenses, admitted that it violated the Argentine maritime limits and fished 0.4 miles inside the EEZ boundary, but maintained that this was due to a fault in one of the three GPS on board.

Sources from the legal representation of Pesquerias Marinenses told the EFE agency that the Argentine authorities verified in Comodoro Rivadavia that one of the three GPS that carries on board presents a deviation, while the other two coincide.

They indicated that the positioning systems of the ship were tested in that port, and that two of the devices placed the ship on the dock, while the other, which marks the position on the captain's map, did so in another direction.

The defense strategy of the company will be based on the fact that there was no "bad faith", so as to reduce the sanction and reach an agreement with the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Nation that intervenes in the case.

The lawyer in charge of the legal defense of the shipowner said that they are "expediting to try to reach the agreement" as soon as possible.

To avoid confiscation of the 320 tonnes that the Playa Pesmar Uno had on board, the company has to prove that the majority had been captured in international waters. For this, the use of data from the electronic on-board newspaper sent to Madrid is key.

Considering the value of the load of fish that was carried by the Spanish fishing vessel and that is presumed to have been caught in Argentine waters, those responsible for the vessel face a fine that could range between ARS 5 million (EUR 206,700) and ARS 10 million (EUR 413,000).

According to the president of the Cooperative Fisheries Shipowners Puerto de Vigo (ARVI), Javier Touza, there is a "clear understanding" between the shipowner and the Argentine authorities, so a lesser sanction is expected to the maximum provided by Argentine law.

Related articles:

-Spanish vessel caught in Argentina faces fine of up to EUR 400 million 
-Spanish fishing vessel caught with 320 tonnes of fish in Argentine Sea

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