Chilean navy seizes Peruvian fishing vessel and its crew in disputed maritime territory

The Chilean Navy has seized a Peruvian ship and 16 of its crew for fishing for anchovy allegedly in Chilean waters on Thursday. The Peruvian fishermen were arrested and transported to the Chilean port city of Arica, about 11 miles south of the Peruvian border, Radio Programas radio reported. According to Radio Programas, the fishermen need to pay a fine in order to leave Chilean custody.

The fishermen were seized inside the disputed maritime territory that Chile controls, but which Peru claims as its own. The waters cover 38,000 square kilometers, or about 14,500 square miles.

The maritime dispute has caused considerable tensions in the past between the two South American nations. The latest action was taken in mid-January, when Peru filed suite against Chile to resolve the conflict according to international law at the International Court of Justice, ICJ, in the Hague.

Chile responded by putting the brakes on free trade talks with Peru, citing Peru’s decision to file suite at the ICJ.

The dispute dates back to the 1879 – 1883 War of the Pacific, in which Peru and Bolivia lost substantial territory to Chile.

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