Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Viking Won't See Valhalla

Another internationally-wanted toothfish-poaching vessel has been detained in Malaysia.
The Nigerian-flagged Viking is the second poaching vessel to be detained recently, dealing a major blow to illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean.
Held for violations of Malaysian maritime law, Malaysian authorities have indicated Viking will also be investigated for alleged illegal, unregulated, unreported (IUU) fishing violations.
Viking is one of the six remaining illegal, unregulated, unreported (IUU) fishing vessels (which Sea Shepherd calls the "Bandit 6"), known to target vulnerable toothfish in Antarctic waters, and is the second of the six to have been detained by authorities in the last month.
Viking, like its five counterparts, has a long history of illegal fishing. In 2013 the vessel, then called Snake, was the first vessel to be issued with an Interpol Purple Notice for fishing-related violations following a petition from Norway. The owners and operators of the vessel are suspected of violating national laws and regulations, as well as international conventions by engaging in fraud and fisheries-related crimes.
In addition to fishing crimes, SS is calling upon Malaysian authorities to investigate possible human rights violations on board Viking.
...meanwhile SS's ship Bob Barker continues its record-breaking pursuit of the most notorious of the "Bandit 6" vessels, the Thunder, which prior to it being stripped of its registration last week, was also flagged to Nigeria.
...and in further news, Thai authorities confirm the captain of the poaching vessel Kunlun, which was chased from its hunting grounds inside Australian waters by the Sam Simon in February, has been charged for falsely reporting its illegal catch of 182 tonnes of Antarctic toothfish as grouper. The handler that received the fish has also been charged for illegally importing the fish into Thailand.
The poaching vessels are the target of Operation Icefish, SS's first Southern Ocean Defence Campaign to target IUU fishing operators in the waters of Antarctica.

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