Two Tunisian fishing vessel skippers, Belwaer Mohamed Ali, 39, and Khnissi Khemais, 41, who were intercepted in Maltese waters on Sunday, were fined €10,000 upon their arraignment on Tuesday.
They had been intercepted by Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) personnel of the Maritime Squadron, and later arrested off Gozo’s west coast. They were subsequently escorted into Grand Harbour.
From testimony in court, it was revealed that the Maltese military personnel had to call for assistance since the captains initially refused to obey orders.
Belwaer Mohamed Ali is captain of the ‘Ayatou Allah’ and Khnissi Khemais is the captain of the ‘Mohammed Yahia,’
They were both charged with unlicensed fishing in Maltese waters and failing to inform Maltese authorities of the amount and description of the fish on board. Both skippers pleaded guilty to the various breaches in terms of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act.
Magistrate Ian Farrugia condemned them to a €10,000 fine, ordering them not to leave the boats until the fine is settled.
Inspectors Elliot Magro and Daryl Borg prosecuted.