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US family fighting to free commercial fishermen held prisoner in British Virgin Islands by Chris Chase September 02,2020   |  Source: SeafoodSource

A U.S. family from New Jersey is fighting to get the U.S. State Department to intervene in the imprisonment of Mike Foy, a commercial fisherman who has been held in the British Virgin Islands since 8 June.

Foy, according to a Change.org petition nearing 5,000 signatures, was waiting in the waters of Tortola for clearance to enter the island's port in order to obtain passport stamps for the crew so they could obtain clearance to Puerto Rico – a requirement of U.S. Customs. Instead, Foy was imprisoned and charged with “illegal entry and unlicensed fishing” after being told to dock his boat off the coast.

Foy was charged with illegal entry after being found in the territorial waters of the island. However, Foy claimed that he had received permission in order to get passport stamps required for some of his crew – Indonesian nationals holding C-11 transit visas. A subsequent investigation found that Foy had been denied entry due to the territory’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

USA Today reported Foy’s lawyer, Andrew Minkiewicz – a Washington-based lawyer specializing in maritime issues – told them the British Virgin Islands is claiming fish found onboard Foy’s vessel was illegally caught in island waters. However, Foy’s tracking data proves that’s not


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