According to several reports in Spanish and French media, the two vessels were taken in by Moroccan coastguard on 20 June 2009.
They were of Cape Verdean and Spanish origin.
According to reports in Spanish media, the vessel 'Nuevo Fransisco Javier', based on Arguineguin, Gran Canary Island, has 7 crew members from the Canary Islands and 2 Moroccans.
The Spanish vessel is fishing under a licence given through the Moroccan-European fisheries partnership cooperation, and they have to pay a fine before leaving. Newspaper 20 minutos mention the fine is at 20.000 euros. Their cargo is confiscated.
The Cape Verdean vessel, 'Martins Fonseca', had a crew of 17 members, all of Cape Verdean nationality, according to AFP.
They were stopped because they fished in a forbidden no-fish zone, according to a source in port of Dakhla that AFP spoke to.
After being stopped by the coastguard, they were taken to Dakhla port, where the two vessels and their crew currently are held.
The stories in Spanish/French media do not mention the fact that the EU-Moroccan fisheries agreement is inself illegal according to international law. Morocco has no right to issue fisheries licences in Western Sahara, which is under Moroccan occupation. Western Sahara is enlisted as an unresolved colonial question by the UN.
The former UN Under Secretary General for Legal Affairs, Mr. Hans Corell, has slammed the EU-Moroccan agreement as illegal. Read his opinion here.
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
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