Fishemen aboard detained Taiwanese ship released on bail

Basco, the Philippines, May 8 (CNA) Six people aboard a Taiwanese fishing boat detained by the Philippines in Basco for alleged poaching were released on bail Friday after negotiations with Filipino officials. The six included Captain Hung Tian-ting (???), chief engineer Huang An-sheng (???) and four Indonesian fishermen. The court ordered each of them to be freed on bail of 15,000 pesos (US$336). They can move freely for the time being in the Philippines but still have to appear in court if summoned. Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines sent officials to visit them Friday and present them with funds to wish them a safe and speedy return to Taiwan. The Pingtung-registered "Sheng Feng No. 12" was passing through waters 6.5 nautical miles from Yami island, among the Batanes Islands in the northern Philippines, early Thursday morning when inspectors on a Philippine ship approached and boarded the fishing boat to investigate possible poaching of fish, according to a fishermen's association in Pingtung's Liouciou, where the boat is based. The fishing boat departed Wednesday morning for Davao in the southern Philippines but was held in waters off Batanes Islands, the association said. The incident came as Taiwan and the Philippines are trying to sign an agreement covering law enforcement cooperation in fishing matters in their overlapping economic waters. Taiwan and the Philippines have been negotiating an agreement on maritime law enforcement cooperation since late 2013, one of the steps taken to improve relations after Philippine Coast Guard officers shot at a Taiwanese fishing boat on May 9, 2013 in waters where the two countries' exclusive economic zones overlap (By Emerson Lim and Lilian Wu)