Japan Releases Chinese Fishing Boat Captain

John Konrad
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September 25, 2010

Chinese Fishing Boat Arrested By Japan

Last week gCaptain asked “Could Criminalization Of The Mariner Lead To War?” after the troubling arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain in disputed waters. While this doomsday scenario was unlikely another, a global increase in mariner arrest, is a continued threat to our profession.

The most troubling component of the latest incident is the political nature of the arrest. Whether an arrest is made to further a local environmental agenda or a national defense strategy it is most often the average mariner that becomes the causality of politicians looking for votes.

This specific incident has come to a favorable conclusion but this is unlikely to be the end of the global trend to criminilize mariners. The New York Times tells us:

TOKYO — A diplomatic showdown between Japan and China that began two weeks ago with the arrest of the captain of a Chinese trawler near disputed islands ended Friday when Tokyo accepted Beijing’s demands for his immediate release, a concession that appeared to mark a humiliating retreat in a Pacific test of wills.

Japan freed the captain, Zhan Qixiong, 41, who left Saturday on a chartered flight sent by the Chinese government to take him home. Mr. Zhan had been held by the Japanese authorities since his boat collided with Japanese patrol vessels on Sept. 7 near uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, and Japan had insisted that he would be prosecuted.

His release handed a significant victory to Chinese leaders, who have ratcheted up the pressure on Japan with verbal threats and economic sanctions.

“It certainly appears that Japan gave in,” said Hiroshi Nakanishi, a professor of international relations at Kyoto University. “This is going to raise questions about why Japan pushed the issue in the first place, if it couldn’t follow through with meeting China’s challenges.” Continue Reading.

With this incident behind us it is important that all mariners support those who campaign to end the upward trend of criminalization. If you are an American Master Mariner you should consider joining The Council Of American Master Mariners, who have taken a leadership role in defending mariner rights. If you live overseas please, in the comments below, leave the contact information of organizations in your area fighting this global trend.

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