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Suspected identity fraud and IUU: Liberia arrests cargo ship

Published by FiskerForum, 13-04-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

After receiving intelligence that a refrigerated cargo vessel was suspected of transmitting a fraudulent identity outside the Port of Monrovia, the Liberian Coast Guard assisted by Sea Shepherd crew and Israeli maritime advisors boarded the Sierra Leone-flagged ship.

The 93-metre Lian Run’s AIS had been transmitting an IMO number that did not exist in any record, which triggered suspicions about the ship’s activities. Lian Run has been detained on five previous occasions over the past five years, and has a history of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity. The inspection determined it was carrying 460 tonnes of fish on board, intended for offloading in the Port of Monrovia.

Lian Run’s master was unable to present a cargo manifest for the fish on board, and later claimed the fish had been transshipped from four fishing vessels belonging to the ‘Lian Run’ fleet, although no corroborating documentation could be presented.

The Liberian Coast Guard ordered the vessel arrested on suspicion of identity fraud and IUU fishing while the origin of the fish cargo is investigated.

‘To address IUU fishing, we must go after the vessels actively engaged in the illegal fishing activity, as well as the vessels that support that criminal activity. In Liberia, I have instructed the Coast Guard to target every link in the criminal chain, including these mother ships, that makes fishery crime possible,’ said Hon Minister Brownie Samukai, Liberia’s Minister of National Defence.

Since February 2017, under the name Operation Sola Stella, Sea Shepherd been assisting the Government of Liberia in tackling IUU fishing by providing the use of Bob Barker as an offshore patrol vessel operating in Liberian waters, under the direction of the Liberian Ministry of National Defence. The patrols have so far resulted in the arrest of four IUU fishing vessels. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing.

In 2016 Sea Shepherd partnered with the government of Gabon for Operation Albacore, resulting in more than 40 fishing vessel inspections at sea and the subsequent arrest of three IUU Congolese fishing trawlers and one Spanish longliner. Operation Sola Stella is a continuation of Sea Shepherd Global’s commitment to work actively with national governments and their Law Enforcement Agencies in the fight against IUU fishing.

Source: Sea Shepherd

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