Chinese crew gladChinese crewmen detained aboard a fishing vessel where the captain and first mate allegedly were murdered "seem to be anxious to find out what's going to happen to them," said the ship's agent.
to be docked
A local guard service is now
securing them aboard their ship
By Helen Altonn
The ship, the Full Means 2, is now docked at Pier 29 after an ordeal involving alleged acts of murder and mutiny on the high seas by Lei Shi, the boat's 21-year-old cook.
"They seem to be relieved that they are here and are safe," said Anne Stevens, with the marine agency Kerr Norton Strachan.
Stevens was at the Full Means 2 late yesterday for a transfer of security from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to a local guard service retained by the ship's agent.
The transition was overseen by three Coast Guard officials.
Lei, a citizen of the People's Republic of China, appeared in federal court here Friday on charges that he took control of the boat on March 14 after killing the captain, Chen Chung She of Taiwan, and first mate Li Da Feng of China.
Lei threatened the crew with knives and ordered them to throw the captain's body overboard and take the boat west, federal prosecutors said. The crew regained control of the ship two days later and decided to travel to Hawaii for help, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court Thursday.
The federal offense of "seizing control of a ship by means of murder" is punishable by the death penalty, assistant U.S. Attorney Elliott Enoki said Friday. Enoki said the decision to seek the death penalty would be made by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service detained 31 crewmen aboard the fishery vessel at Pier 29 because they don't have documentation to enter the United States.
Stevens said the Taiwan owner of the vessel is expected here next week to talk to the crew about returning home or going fishing so long as they aren't needed for the court case.
The boat was fishing for tuna under contract to FCF Fishery.
KITV reported that Chinese officials from Los Angeles, here for a function, met with the crew aboard the ship yesterday and with Lei at the federal detention facility.
Stevens said an interpreter is on board, asking if the fishermen need any provisions. So far, they haven't asked for anything, she said.
"The Coast Guard is very nice," she said, noting they took a TV and VCR to the crew. "They have a lot of tapes on board."
They are allowed to leave the vessel only to use the restrooms, she said, explaining they can't use the ones on the ship because the sewage would go right into the harbor.
BACK TO TOP