Fate of Illegal Driftnetters in Alaskan Harbor
One arrested illegal driftnet fishing boat already dismantled for scrap, another to follow soon.
Some two years ago the USCG cutter Rush intercepted the Da Cheng driftnetting on the high seas near Japan, a practice banned by U.N. moratorium because of its devastating effects on marine ecosystems. The Rush escorted the vessel in to the Port of Unalaska, Alaska, and turned over the vessel to Chinese law enforcement after discovering that all the crewmembers aboard the unflagged vessel were Chinese. Subsequently sold for scrap, that vessel has now been dismantled by contractors in Unalaska, reports KUCB.
Meanwhile, a year and a half after being escorted into Unalaska, the Bangun Perkasa is still tied up at the dock. But perhaps not for much longer. Bidding on the contract for dismantling and disposing of the high seas driftnetter closed last week. Four companies submitted proposals, but there’s no clear timeline for when the contract will be awarded.
The Coast Guard chased down the Bangun Perkasa while it was driftnetting in the North Pacific in October 2011. NOAA has been paying roughly $30,000 a month for moorage, security, and project management associated with seizure of the vessel. That amounts to approximately half a million dollars since 2011.
Pirate fishing is on the rise worldwide, and is estimated to cost legal fishermen billions of dollars a year in lost revenue.
Source: KUSB Unalaska Community