To add to the mounting domestic struggles in the island nation of Fiji in the wake of elections and government repression, a YouTube video has surfaced claimed to be showing a Fijian fishing crew being gunned down just outside Fijian waters as they clung to their submerged craft. Fijian police have yet to identify the victims in the video, confirm that they are indeed Fijian citizens or that it actually occurred in the South Pacific. The amateur video shows the assailants on another boat laughing and taking selfies in the wake of the killings. The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the vessel the assailants were on has been identified as a Taiwanese tuna fishing vessel. The vessel in question has had its Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) turned off for the past three months and has not been located since. The Taiwanese fishing boat is reported to have been licensed to fish for tuna in the waters around Southern Australia and New Zealand last year.
In a still from the video one of the victims clings to the wreckage of his boat as bullets tear into the water around him. (Photo Curtesy of the Daily Mail)
A Fijian college student originally uploaded the video to YouTube. Police say that the student found a mobile phone left inside a taxi that contained the video. The Fijian authorities have asked for help from Interpol to further the investigation.
The Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association President, Mr. Southwick has stated that he believes the video actually originates from the coast of Somalia. It has been recorded that Taiwanese tuna crews have been making record catches of tuna off the coast of Somalia in recent years and have been risking the pirate infested waters ever since. It is Mr. Southwick’s contention that the incident shown in the video is actually a well-known event that occurred off the coast of Somalia. Somali pirates attempted to board a tuna boat but were shot by armed guards on the boat.
There is no evidence linking the video to Fiji or any evidence to reveal the victims in the video or indeed whether they are the victims in the situation at all. Even though the fishing boat had been previously licensed in the south pacific it is not uncommon for the boat to move to different waters. However, Southwick went on to say that he is aware that violence often erupts in pacific waters. The completion for tuna has grown quickly in recent years as tuna has become rare and where large amounts of money are at stake there is always a possibility for foul play.