Gov’t mulls fining S. Korean sailors operating in piracy-prone waters off West Africa

SEOUL, South Korea’s government is considering imposing fines on its citizens operating in piracy-ridden waters off West Africa, sources said Wednesday, in the latest move to ensure their safety in the wake of a series of kidnapping incidents.
The ministries of foreign affairs and fisheries, and other related agencies have been mulling slapping fines worth millions of won to stop Korean sailors from fishing in the treacherous waters, the sources said.
The government has recently been stepping up efforts to craft protective measures for Korean sailors in the African waters, dispatching a Coast Guard official to the South Korean Embassy in Ghana and designating the Gulf of Guinea as “waters highly prone to piracy.”
Despite the government’s repeated entreaties and warnings against fishing operations in the high-risk areas, some 140 South Korean sailors are thought to be currently operating near the region.
Sources expect that enforcing the scheme to impose fines would take time, as it needs legal revision. They added that the government is also looking into the possibility of revoking maritime navigation licenses for those operating in the African waters.
The incidents of kidnappings off the western coast of Africa took place in May, June and August. Two South Korean fishermen abducted in waters near Togo in August have recently been released safely.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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