21 May 2016

Kiribati man charged with assaulting a fisheries observer

10:44 am on 21 May 2016

A Kiribati national working on a purse seiner could face up to 12 months in jail in the Federated States of Micronesia if he's found guilty of assaulting a fisheries observer.

Terangutu Uerem was stood down from the crew of the Marawa 1 after he was charged with criminal assault against a worker for the region's observer programme.

He has not yet entered a plea.

The alleged assault happened on the 12th of May, the ship was recalled to Pohnpei after the observer managed to make contact, where it arrived on the 15th.

The FSM's chief litigator, Clayton Lawrence, said the case was the first instance he's come across where an observer has been assaulted, and prosecutors are likely to seek the maximum penalty.

There are currently over 500 observers based on purse seiners in the Western Pacific.