Illegal fishing vessels fail to comply with New Zealand Navy’s attempts to board
The captains of two illegal vessels in the Southern Ocean have
refused to allow the New Zealand Navy to board after HMNZS Wellington hailed and attempted to board both vessels, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said.
“Overnight Equatorial Guinea told
us that they consider the three vessels located in the Southern Ocean to be operating illegally and agreed New Zealand should board the vessels to verify their flagged status,” McCully said.
“The HMNZS Wellington attempted to exercise its legitimate right to board the Yongding and the Songhua earlier today, but the vessels refused to cooperate. Due to the conditions and the evasive tactics of the masters it was not possible to safely board these vessels.
“While this is disappointing, it is important that we keep the safety of the New Zealand crew
as our paramount consideration.
“We will be sharing the considerable evidence collected so far with key international partners, and with inter-governmental bodies such as CCAMLR and INTERPOL, as well as working with port states to prevent the ships from offloading or selling their catch.
“We will also work with INTERPOL to take action against those aboard the ship, encouraging other countries to take legal action against the company which purportedly owns the vessels, and most importantly working with the Spanish authorities to investigate the links between the vessels and the Spanish-based syndicate, Vidal Armadores S.A,” McCully said.