American border patrol agents stopping and boarding Canadian vessels: spokesman

05 July, 2018, 21:03 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Machias Seal Island

The Canadian Government is now investigating two separate occasions where US agents entered Canadian waters off the coast of New Brunswick around the island and North Rock.

Laurence Cook, chairman of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association wrote on Facebook that the US officials claimed they were "looking for illegal immigrants" in the vicinity of Machias Seal Island, according to the CBC report. Chair of Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, Lawrence Cook, said that over 10 fishing boats had been stopped for that reason.

"Border Patrol does not board Canadian Vessels in the grey zone without consent or probable cause and only conduct (s) interviews as a vessel runs parallel to it, bow to stern", the spokesman added by email. According to the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, "Canada's sovereignty over the area is long standing and has a strong foundation in global law", although it notes the United States disputes Canada's claim.

Though the island does not have people living there, the population is considered to be two. Machias Seal Island is located 16 kilometres southeast from Cutler, Maine, while 19 kilometres southwest of Southwest Head on Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy. "That's created more tension in the area over the last decade".

It's possible that neither country sees it as a high-stakes priority, said Kelly, but orderly access to the waters is "vital" to the two fishing industries.

Robert Huebert, an associate professor of political science at the University of Calgary, said it's a troubling sign, especially given the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy at the U.S. -Mexico border. Mr Cook said the agents told him they were looking for illegal immigrants. "It's quite disturbing when you have fishermen on the water, doing their job, providing for their families ... and they're being harassed", he said.

He said the fishermen were well within their rights and US officials had no jurisdiction to question them.

On Grand Manan, local residents are speaking out about the US intervention, said Cook. "Proud of Nick not surprised to see the Americans trying to push people around". "They're not happy about it, and they don't think (the Americans) have any business doing this".

"All of a sudden the attitude has changed".

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not responded to a CBS News request for comment.

CBC News reported that the Canadian government is investigating the incidents, which occurred June 24 and 25.

The Canadian Foreign Ministry said it had launched an inquiry into the incident off Machias Seal Island, which Canada insists is its territory.

"Canada's sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is long-standing and has a strong foundation in global law", Babcock said in an email to CBC News.

"Until the matter of the boundary is resolved, we will continue to take practical steps with the ensure that the area is well managed. Canada and the US have a long history of co-operation which ensures that fishing in this area in well-managed and safe for both countries".

The Grand Manan Fishermen's Association issued a statement that used much the same language. The U.S. border patrol attempted to stop Grand Manan fisherman Nick Brown in the grey zone, he wrote.

In a statement on Wednesday, the association said its understanding of the situation now is that it was part of a "regular exercise being conducted along the USA marine border".



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