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Investigations Continue On Falsified Documents

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Fiji Police Force is still gathering information on foreign vessels using falsified documents and flying the Fiji flag. This was confirmed to the
22 Mar 2017 11:00
Investigations Continue On Falsified Documents
Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji’s [MSAF] chief executive officer, John Tunidau.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Fiji Police Force is still gathering information on foreign vessels using falsified documents and flying the Fiji flag.

This was confirmed to the Fiji Sun by the police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro.

The Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji’s [MSAF] chief executive officer, John Tunidau, in an earlier release said they had notified the Fiji Police Force and Tokyo MOU about ships claiming to be registered in Fiji using falsified documents.

According to Ms Naisoro officers from the CID are still gathering information about the claim.

Charges will be laid after the investigation.

The MSAF CEO said that Fiji had a closed Registry and was not an open registry and as such foreign ships claiming Fiji was their Flag State were doing so fraudulently.

According to Mr Tunidau an open registry is a practice where foreign ship owners register their ship in another State

While the matter is still under investigation, the Tokyo MOU has disseminated the information to other Member States.

Meanwhile the Tokyo MOU is one of the most active regional port State control (PSC) organizations in the world. The organization consists of 20 member Authorities in the Asia-Pacific region.

A Tokyo MOU release said the MOU was concluded in December 1993 and came into operation in April 1994. At present, Tokyo MOU consists of 20 member Authorities: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Fiji, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Thailand, Vanuatu and Viet Nam.

Panama adheres to the Tokyo MOU as co-operating member Authority. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Macao (China), Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, the United States Coast Guard, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labour Organization and the Secretariats of the Paris, the Indian Ocean, the Black Sea and the Riyadh Memoranda of Understanding on Port State Control and the Viña del Mar Agreement are associated with the Tokyo MOU as observers.

The Secretariat of the Memorandum is located in Tokyo, Japan.

According to Wikipedia vessels which travel internationally or cross international borders are required to be registered.

Registration is not necessary for vessels that travel only in local waters, though some jurisdictions require those vessels to be registered on the national registry. The country of registration is a ship’s flag state and determines its nationality as well as which country’s laws govern its operation and the behavior of its crew.

There must be a “genuine link” between a vessel and its flag state. Article 5(1) of the Geneva Convention on the High Seas of 1958, which came into effect in 1962, require that “the state must effectively exercise its jurisdiction and control in administrative, technical and social matters over ships flying its flag.” There are 63 states party to that Convention. The principle was repeated in Article 91 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (UNCLOS), which came into effect in 1994. That Convention has 167 parties.

Fiji ratified the Law of the Sea on the 25th of March 1971.

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