Update 5: Injured fisherman to be airlifted to Malta
Adds details, Sea Shepherd version of events, government statement -
A Maltese fisherman who was injured in a clash with tuna fishing protesters off Libya this afternoon is to be airlifted to Mater Dei Hospital on an AFM helicopter later this evening once his trawler comes closer to Malta. The fisherman requires treatment for a ripped arm caused by a fishing hook.
The fisherman was injured during a clash with volunteers from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society when one of the volunteers threw a grapnel at a tuna pen to tear it. The fisherman scrambled onto the pen to remove the hook and suffered a ripped arm when the environmentalists pulled it back. A quantity of tuna managed to escape from the pen.
The Maltese search and rescue authorities were informed of the incident by the fishermen and the Libyan authorities had been expected to provide medical evacuation but none turned up by early this evening.
Other Maltese fishermen on the trawler suffered bruising which is thought to have been caused by rubber bullets fired at them by the protesters. Some eight other Maltese are believed to have been on the trawler involved in the incident.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is conducting a campaign against tuna fishing in the Mediterranean.
This afternoon's incident took place some 35 nautical miles off Tripoli, when the Maltese company Fish & Fish was towing the tuna pen with legally caught tuna to Malta.
The government in a statement expressed solidarity with the Maltese fishermen and said the tuna was caught legally.
SEA SHEPHERD GIVES DIFFERENT VERSION OF EVENTS
Meanwhile, the Sea Shepherd said its ship, the Steve Irwin has identified two purse seiners 'committing illegal activities' of the Libyan coast. The ship approached the suspicious vessels, the Italian seiner Cesare Rustico and the Tagreft and notified the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) of possible violations.
The group said the trawlers were towing two cages, one cage contained about 800 fish and the other appeared empty. The Captain of the Cesare Rustico reported that all the tuna were caught on the morning of the 14th by the vessel Tagreft, the last legal day before the EU ban. Sea Shepherd noted that the number of tuna in the cage exceeded the quota for the Tagreft, in response the Captain said the cage also included bluefin from eight other seiners.
“This was sounding most convenient so we asked to examine the fish for juveniles and they refused. I put the bow of the Steve Irwin close to the cage and we tied off to hold onto the cage so that we could examine it further,” said Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd.
"The vessel Rosaria Tuna rammed the Steve Irwin on the aft port side and slid alongside the port rail as a fishermen tried to gaff Sea Shepherd crew members with a long hook on a pole. The Steve Irwin crew retaliated with eight litres of rotten butter forcing the seiner to retreat."
PN CONDEMNS AGGRESSION
In a statement, the Nationalist Party described the Sea Shepherd's actions as fanatical, putting Maltese fishermen’s life and limb in jeopardy.
It noted that Maltese fishermen were engaged in perfectly lawful activities and there were other ways and means how the Sea Shepherd could voice its message and wage its campaign
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In: News, Other
Tags: malta, greenpeace, video, tuna, blue fin tuna, cages, afm, fishermen, injury, boats, capsize, mediterranean, fishery, legal
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