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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Pirate fishing boat spotted by RNZAF
A pirate fishing boat spotted by an air force Orion in Antarctic waters has a track record and has previously been seized by the French Navy.
Duty Cabinet Minister Rick Barker said an Orion spotted a vessel, Triton-1, about 120 nautical miles within the area managed by the Hobart based Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
The organisation is trying to end the "illegal unregulated and unreported" (IUU) taking of the lucrative toothfish.
In the last financial year IUU ships took 2,405 tonnes of toothfish, around 20 percent of the total catch.
Barker said Triton-1 was flagged to Sierra Leone but appears to be operated by a Spanish company.
The RNZAF crew had interrogated the vessel and reported the sighting.
"New Zealand will be reporting the sighting to CCAMLR headquarters in Hobart urgently so all the commission's 25 members are made aware of the vessel's activities."
It was of great concern that the vessel had been detected in the area, Barker said.
Fishing industry sources told Fairfax Media that Triton-1, which has a radio call sign 9LYC09, is well known to international authorities and used to be named Kinsho Maru No. 18 and was owned by a Japanese company. It has carried various flags and in 1997 the French Navy sea going tug Centaure arrested her, flying an Argentinean flag and escorted her to La Reunion in the Indian Ocean were it was found she had 40 tonnes of illegally caught toothfish.
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