The Coast Guard Administration's Fleet recently intercepted a Chinese sand dredger in the waters off of Nangan that was suspected of dredging sand illegally. The dredger was seized and 11 crew members onboard were arrested.
On Oct. 3, members of the Offshore Flotilla 10 under the Coast Guard Administration's Fleet Branch aboard several dinghies intercepted a 6,000-ton Chinese sand dredger at a spot 2.1 nautical miles from Nangan, Matsu. The vessel had not only illegally entered restricted waters, but was also suspected of illegally dredging sand. The flotilla seized the ship and arrested the 11 crew members on board.
We discovered a China-registered sand dredger without a name at a distance of 2.1 nautical miles off the coast of Nangan's Tieban Village. It had illegally entered and was dredging sand. Coast Guard personnel filmed the entire operation of searching for evidence. A total of 10 personnel aboard three dinghies boarded the ship for inspection.
The CGA said all personnel involved in the operation wore personal protection equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lienchiang County Government also sent personnel to disinfect the ship, and the arrested crew members were sent into quarantine.
On Oct. 4, the 1,800 tons of sand the ship was carrying were unloaded in the waters off of Matsu, and the case was transferred to the Fuchien Lienchiang District Prosecutors' Office. The CGA's Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch said the vessel was confiscated. Since 2019, six sand dredgers and 23 fishing vessels have been confiscated in Matsu. Since the start of 2020, the CGA has driven away 376 sand dredgers, 318 fishing vessels, and other types of vessels for a total of 762.
Several days ago, a resident on a plane heading to Matsu saw numerous Chinese sand dredgers working at sea and filmed the scene. The footage also showed the ships continuously discharging yellow wastewater. The flotilla says the majority of these sand dredgers were operating outside of restricted or forbidden waters, not within the waters controlled by Taiwan. The Coast Guard will immediately intercept any vessel that enters restricted waters.