Countries unite to apprehend illegal fishing vessel
INTERPOL has issued a Purple Notice to assist in identifying an illegal fishing vessel as a result of a joint effort by New Zealand, Australia and Norway.
The notice has been circulated to all 190 INTERPOL member countries to seek information about the individuals and networks which own, operate and profit from the vessel Thunder.
“Thunder has been operating under a number of names and flags over several years and we believe this is being done to avoid being caught violating international laws and conventions,” said Gary Orr, manager, operational coordination with New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries.
In July 2012, Mongolian registration papers for a vessel called Wuhan 4 were issued, but in August 2012 the vessel was sighted in the North Indian Ocean under the name of Kuko.
In April 2013, the same vessel requested access to a port in Malaysia under the name Wuhan 4 but when inspected a few days later in Indonesia, it was using the name Thunder and flying the Nigerian flag.
The vessel is currently believed to be operating in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica where it may be fishing illegally for Patagonian toothfish, or Chilean Sea Bass, a highly sought after protected species.
This is the third INTERPOL Purple Notice issued in connection with illegal fishing activities. The notices are used to seek or provide information on modi operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.
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