The Royal Solomon Islands Police Patrol Boat Auki has intercepted and seized two Foreign Long-Line Fishing vessels that were allegedly fishing without license in Solomon Islands' territorial waters on Saturday 30 January 2010.

On Friday 29 January 2010, at approximately 10.00pm, RSIPF Maritime Unit launched an operation to check on the vessels suspected to be carrying out illegal fishing activities.

Patrol Boat Auki with additional officers from Patrol Boat Lata was dispatched under the charge of Commanding Officer, Sergeant Wilson Tapaka to locate and inspect the suspected vessels.

The vessels were located at approximately 325 nautical miles from Honiara, about 138 nautical miles South/East of Rennell Island near the Indispensable Reef.

Both vessels were boarded by separate RSIPF Maritime boarding teams at around 8.00pm on Saturday 30 and 12.05am on Sunday 31 January respectively.

Both vessels were escorted back to Honiara and are currently under police custody at the Police Maritime Wharf at Aola Base.

RSIPF Maritime Operations Manager, Senior Sergeant Timothy Doedoke said "The vessels were located with the RSIPF Maritime Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) which is linked with the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) regional monitoring system."

"With the capability of the Vessel Monitoring System, the Police Maritime Operations Centre detected the Foreign Fishing vessels south of Rennell and Bellona Islands," he said.

Senior Sergeant Doedoke stated that after observing the vessels for a week, police were convinced that they were carrying out illegal fishing activities so the vessels were subsequently reported to the National Fisheries Division for verification.

"The vessels were cross checked with the National Fisheries Division and they indicated that the suspected vessels may have been operating illegally," he said.

"Patrol Boat Auki was then tasked to locate the vessels and carryout the necessary inspections which resulted in the boats being intercepted and escorted back to Honiara," Senior Sergeant Doedoke said.

During the operation, Patrol Boat Auki also located and inspected three other Foreign Fishing vessels that they were conducting fishing activities in nearby waters. These other vessels were found to have valid fishing licenses.

Commanding Officer of Patrol Boat Auki, Sergeant Tapaka said "Three other foreign fishing vessels were spotted on our way back to Honiara and we boarded one while the other two were checked via radio and confirmed their licenses."

"I made contact with captains of both vessels and obtained the essential information from them," he said.

"The vessels' names and license details were relayed back to the Police Maritime Operations Centre where they were checked with the National Fisheries Division and confirmed to be valid," Sergeant Tapaka said.

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