Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Viking's Fiery End

An illegal toothfish fishing vessel, pursued by several countries, has been blown-up by the Indonesian Navy.
Viking was one of six illegal and unregulated fishing vessels plundering toothfish in the Southern Ocean, and was the last to be apprehended. Sea Shepherd, which helped track these vessels, called them the 'Bandit 6'.
Fishing in the Southern Ocean is banned by an international convention to conserve Antarctic marine life.
Viking was apprehended in Indonesian waters and blown up by the Indonesian Navy and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on Monday 18th. The crew was being detained in Indonesia.
New Zealand's pacific fisheries ambassador, Shane Jones, says the dramatic way in which the vessels had been driven out of business would "certainly put a dent in the business of illegal fishing."
Viking was a stateless vessel, falsely claiming to be flagged under Nigeria. The nationalities of the Viking's crew are not known.
In December, NZ authorities patrolling the Southern Ocean captured video and still footage of illegal vessels, and provided crew lists to other countries involved in the crackdown.
Jones said the most worrying prospect for the fishing industry was now a largely-unregulated fleet of more than 3000 longline fishing vessels operating just north of the Kermadec Islands.
NZ authorities had been working with a range of countries for the past year to capture the six vessels and their crews. Vast amounts of time and resources had been spent on pursuing them, but it is unknown how much it had cost NZ taxpayers.

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