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7,000lbs of fish on boat found illegally in VI waters forfeited to Crown

- Boat captain Michael Foy allegedly admitted to being denied entry in VI but said he was promised clearance by a shipping agency
Photo not of fish found in vessel. The some 7000lbs of fish found in a vessel illegally in the Virgin Islands has been lawfully seized by the Crown. Photo: VINO/file
According to Crown Counsel Annjel X. Flax, the fishing vessel 'Rebel Lady' was intercepted on June 8, 2020, around 11:00am when members of a Multi-Agency Joint Task Force were on patrol on VI waters. Photo: VINO/File
According to Crown Counsel Annjel X. Flax, the fishing vessel 'Rebel Lady' was intercepted on June 8, 2020, around 11:00am when members of a Multi-Agency Joint Task Force were on patrol on VI waters. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Puerto Rican boat captain of the fishing vessel with Indonesian crew found in Virgin Islands waters on June 8, 2020, reportedly told police although he was denied entry by the Immigration Department, he was promised by a shipping agency in the Territory they would get ‘Customs Clearance’ for him.

Michael Foy, a commercial fisherman, has been charged with Illegal Entry; Operating an Unlicenced or Unregulated Fishing Vessel, and Arriving at a place other than at a Customs Port.

He was remanded to prison following his first appearance at the Magistrate Court on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

There were intermittent delays to the proceedings as the lawyer for Mr Foy, Mr Paul R. Edwards of Hunte & Co, said he was not aware of some of the complaints the court had against his client and he was not prepared to address them. He said the only complaint he was aware of was a violation of the Immigration Ordinance.

Mr Edwards also said he was “disappointed” that he was unable to reach the prosecuting Crown Counsel prior to the case being called and was now placed in an embarrassing position.

“I am a bit shocked that there were additional steps taken in the matter and up to this point no notice of that was given,” Mr Edwards said.

Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin said the additional complaints were filed on the day of the proceedings by the DPP. She; however, allowed that the complaints only be read to the accused.

Allegations

According to Crown Counsel Annjel X. Flax, the boat was intercepted on June 8, 2020, around 11:00 am, when members of a Multi-Agency Joint Task Force were on patrol on VI waters.

The boat, ‘Rebel Lady’, with 5 persons on board and approximately 7000 pounds of fish, was found in the vicinity of Norman Island and Peter Island.

The names of the Indonesian crew were given as Setrisha, Suwama, Iman Malachai, and Ridho Pratams.

According to the Crown, Mr Foy reportedly told police he was aware he was in the Virgin Islands' waters when the borders were closed but said he was promised clearance by a shipping representative who would deliver a 'Clearance Form' via a small craft.

The captain also indicated to police that his agent had contacted the Acting Chief Immigration Officer to enter the Virgin Islands but was denied. He was; however, told by the shipping company they would get the Customs clearance for him.

Police confirmed the accused was denied entry in the Virgin Islands.

Mr Foy also reportedly told law enforcement officers he had caught the fish in Puerto Rico waters.

He said the vessel had then sailed to St Croix, Anguilla, St Martin and then the Virgin Islands.

Fish Forfeiture

Meanwhile, the Crown made a successful application for the fish to be sold and the money secured until the outcome of the court case.

Again, Mr Edwards complained he was not aware of the Crown’s intention to make an application for the fish to be forfeited and suggested the application be made at another time.

Magistrate Benjamin; however, said she would allow the application since the fish was perishable and the court would not meet until Monday, June 15, 2020, the earliest.

Mr Edwards was; however, given half an hour to get himself prepared to address the application by the Crown.

According to the Crown, it was not in a position to give an estimated value of the fish but said fish usually sells for $7 to $10 per pound.

Mr Edwards had objected to the application, saying the Crown had no legal basis to apply for forfeiture under the Fisheries Act but needed to do so under the Customs Act.

The magistrate; however, upheld the application and made it clear that a forfeiture did not mean that the money automatically goes to the Crown.

Mr Foy is to return to court today, Monday, June 15, 2020, at 2:00 pm on the matter of the charges laid against him.

During the last proceedings, there was no mention of any charges against the Indonesian crew members.

32 Responses to “7,000lbs of fish on boat found illegally in VI waters forfeited to Crown”

  • Lord o (15/06/2020, 07:09) Like (16) Dislike (7) Reply
    God is good....Donate to the people who's been struggling during covid19.....especially those parenta who still dont have an income..
    • kilo77 (25/06/2020, 08:09) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
      Why dont you get the story before you post ignorance. Mr. Foy has been a respected captain in the entire world for many years and you know nothing about how this is done. He has done this hundreds and hundreds of times and gotten clearance and now he is in jail and his crew still on board. They cant provide for their families and did nothing illegal. You should be fighting for him and not against him.
  • what ah ting (15/06/2020, 07:30) Like (48) Dislike (3) Reply
    If this is true about someone promising him clearance, then I will ask. Aren't we tired of selling ourselves, our people and our territory for 20 pieces of silver?

    I hope he can name or identify that person so that he or she is investigated.
    • @what ah ting (15/06/2020, 11:23) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
      I don’t care if they are giving away the fish for free, I don’t want any parts of it. The person that set up the deal on the BVI side needs to be named and investigated.
  • Yes (15/06/2020, 07:34) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Where can I purchase some fish, and it’s $5.00 per pound and up.
  • Oh Boy.. (15/06/2020, 07:40) Like (16) Dislike (1) Reply
    Good reason to invest in our fishing industry....The big fishing boats, deep water fishing....The massive Schools are out there..
  • ok (15/06/2020, 08:01) Like (29) Dislike (2) Reply
    Name the company that give you clearance since them is law or you lying trying make a quick illegal buck
  • NezRez (15/06/2020, 08:08) Like (20) Dislike (6) Reply
    Who is this so called shipping agency he speaks of that would get him clearance, to come in here illegally? Once they illegally entered VI waters, while we are on lock down, with people who could infect us all with Corona virus, not licensed or unregulated fishing vessel, there is nothing else to say. They are all guilty and the VI can do whatever it wants to. We should be able to sell all of the fish to everyone here, not give them a dime for it, seize their boat and put them in prison for a time that coincides with the law. How dare they think they were going to come in our borders and do what they wanted to and think we are stupid enough to believe them.
  • lol (15/06/2020, 08:28) Like (11) Dislike (23) Reply
    Well the lazy fisher men them here wasn’t catching them so somebody else had to
    • not fair (15/06/2020, 13:28) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
      fisher men here are not lazy. Their pots are being pulled. Glad they caught this PR fishing vessel, because they are probably around the place pulling other people's fish traps.
      • @not fair (15/06/2020, 13:55) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
        The fishermen is not lazy, when they set their pots, someone is pulling their pots and stealing their catch. The fish thieves on the Island is responsible for this.
  • LCS (15/06/2020, 08:50) Like (2) Dislike (8) Reply
    They are lying saying fish was caught somewhere else. And BVI fisherman say there is no fish to catch! The proof is the pudding.
  • tola (15/06/2020, 09:47) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    I just want know where they selling them
  • tell me (15/06/2020, 12:07) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    This man know exactly what he was doing d boat don't drief he was coming to some one there is a lot of tricks in treading
  • Axle (15/06/2020, 14:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where can I purchase some of this fish please?
  • The Courts (15/06/2020, 17:03) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Court has to stop this last minute submission abs serving of documents without the other party having time to review.

    It’s a conniving tactic that does not balance the scales.
  • ooooo (15/06/2020, 17:17) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can I have some?
  • Long liner (15/06/2020, 18:33) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    It’s a long line fishing vessel their fish are not caught here. They need a clearance to return to Puerto Rico they do this a lot here or from Trinidad which is the zone the fish . why doesn’t customs clear up this story so people understand why vessels or ships seek clearance
    • c (16/06/2020, 09:51) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
      Exactly @ long liner. Finally, someone who has common sense. People are so quick to point fingers and assume they know the truth. And to think the news/media is always telling you the truth. These fish were caught in legal waters and not near BVI. Everyone here is greedy and wants to exploit a hard working individual. Maybe you wouldn't be writing these comments if you actually had a life or work of your own.
    • vi (16/06/2020, 19:41) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
      Clear up what. Did i not read that they contacted the Ag. Chief Immigration Officer with a request and was told NO. The borders are closed so whats the debate.
  • Well (15/06/2020, 20:33) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Name the shipping company or are you too afraid ? Who does shipping and who owns their own large vessels ? And who has immunity here ?
  • Hmmmm (18/06/2020, 12:29) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    It got Hardnose in there? When can we come by the collect?
  • What Fish? (28/06/2020, 22:15) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    what species of fish was onboard? 7000lbs of what?
  • Joshua (29/06/2020, 22:48) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    They are not lying as I know this man well and they catch the fish in U S and international waters and came there because the Customs agent promised the Captain Clearance the crew needed to go to Puerto Rico and he was told to wait for the Clearance somewhere near Norman islands until they brought him the Clearance via a small boat!!!!! They are legitimate and if anyone should be charged it should be the Shipping Agent!!!!!! If they were not going to grant him clearance they simply should of turned them away!!! Also they brought no possible Covid Virus as they would of been offshore for more then three weeks thus safe!!!!! Tortola should be ashamed for imprisioning a innocent good man!!!!!!
    • Kim (12/09/2020, 12:10) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Very well said Joshua. In addition he has been denied adequate food and is being kept under horrible conditions. This is shameful.
  • RF (30/06/2020, 23:04) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Exactly, Mike Foy is an honest man that provides for his family as well as his crews families. He works hard and jumps through all the regulations imposed on the longline industry. His business is not easy. They worked hard to catch their fish. He was told his papers were being bought to him by small craft. This is a travesty. He has aided and fed people through hurricanes and storms. Would give the shirt off his back. Why?
    • Joshua (01/07/2020, 16:01) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes Mike Is a good Man and has helped many people in Tortola during the hurricane`s etc. he is a Hard working man that struggles to and is straight and honest!!!!!!! It is not a Big Boat and they are not rich people just a Honest hard working man !!!!!! I came Imagine what is the motivation to do this to him!!!! Let him pay a reasonable fine for a bad Judgement call of trusting a corrupt agent and let him out of prison!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he is only guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a Very Difficult Time for us all!!!!!!!!!
      • JC (01/07/2020, 22:11) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        Joshua- thank you for speaking the truth. That is my father! It has been a travesty what he has gone through. Thanks for speaking the truth.
  • JHD (12/07/2020, 12:37) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mike is still in prison! Once the truth come out, it will show Captain Michael Foy did nothing wrong. The government should then be held accountable and repay the Captain for his loss. Travelers should be aware of the lack of justice in the BVI's and stay away.
  • Rich H (14/07/2020, 07:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Capt Mike Foy is one of the good guys. He has always been an honest fisherman who plays strictly by the rules and treats his crew well. It’s terrible that he’s held without bail. Allow him bail to return to his boat to care for his crew while awaiting trial. The truth is on his side.
  • USA will BOYCOTT Tortola (09/09/2020, 19:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Their boat has a satellite tracking system sends a position every hour. He was six miles offshore. #BoycottTortola


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