The Hanoitimes - The court of Palawan province of the Philippines ruled to immediately release 85 Vietnamese fishermen at their hearing, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines.
The remaining 37 fishermen, who are among 122 on seven fishing vessels arrested by the Philippine Navy on May 30, will be released on Aug. 31 after completing documents and procedures relating to evidence of rare animals found in their ships.
The court had handed over the seven fishing vessels to the local government for management while the fishermen await a final decision.
The Vietnamese Embassy and ship owners will continue to work with Philippines ’ national and provincial agencies so that the ships can be given back to the fishermen soon.
The Vietnamese Embassy will work with appropriate Philippine agencies to complete existing procedures to help the 122 fishermen return home at the possible earliest time.
Earlier on Aug. 24, the Palawan court held a preparatory session regarding the case.
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.