Prosecutors of the court of Palawan province of the Philippines on August 31 withdrew their charges against two fishing vessels and 37 fishermen of Vietnam relating to harvesting rare sea snails.
The Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines also said that due to a number of objections, the court also decided to make further considerations before making final verdicts.
Eighty-five Vietnamese fishermen who were released on August 26, are now temporarily at the military quarters of the Western Military Command of the Philippines.
The Vietnamese Embassy is working with national and provincial Philippine agencies so that seven Vietnamese fishing vessels could soon be returned to their owners and fishermen.
The embassy is working with appropriate Philippine agencies to complete existing procedures to help the fishermen return home at the earliest possible time.
According to the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department, on May 30, 2011, seven fishing vessels from Binh Thuan province with 122 fishermen on board were seized by the Philippine Navy about 2 nautical miles (3.6km) off Tamburok coast of Balabac, in Palawan province.
The fishermen had planned to go to the Philippines to fish under an economic contract between the Long Hai Long Company of Vietnam and the Philippines’ Premiere International Interfishing Company. The fishing vessels and crews were arrested in the Philippines’ territorial waters, when they had yet to complete necessary legal procedures.