(PNG Official sought to protect dolphins)
Six RD Tuna workers - all Filippino - are facing murder charges in the death of National Fisheries Observer, Charlie Lasisi of New Ireland Province.
The incident took place on 29 March of this year on board the RD Tuna vessel FV/Dolores 838 inside the Bismark Seas in Vanimo, along the Indonesian/PNG border.
Police said Mr. Lasisi had been strongly objecting to the fishing of dolphins by
RD Vessels. The catching of dolphins, sharks and other prohibited fish has been one of the many criticisms of RD over years.
The summary of facts said it was between 6pm-7pm when he went missing after he left the ship’s mess hall. It said when he left the room, two Filippino crew members - Ramil Lumactod and June Alon left with him, but returned to report he had “gone missing.” The captain searched the area and ship and could not locate Lasisi or the body.
On 31 March a report was sent to the Managing Director of National Fisheries Authority (NFA) Sylvester Pokajam and the National Maritime Safety Authority who sent officers to investigate on “suspicion of murder”. Also charged with murder in addition to Ramil and June were Bonfacio Gelvoko, Franz Olivia Oyao, Jerwin Famini and Francisco Famini.
The six were remanded at Beon jail in Madang for several days until K500 bail each with TEN CONDITIONS were granted by Justice David Cannings. They were released under the care of the senior Vice President of RD Tuna Canners Limited in Madang. Justice Cannings ordered that RD Canners pay surety of K10,000 because they were all foreigners. Cannings said the amount should ensure they six do not escape because not only would the money be forfeited but it would proven bad for the corporate reputation of RD Tuna if the six did not return. The accused will appear again for mention on 30 July.
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