Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fines imposed after Russian, U.S. authorities respond to suspected outlaw fishing vessel

The U.S. Coast Guard reported the following last week to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

On 14 Jan 2018, representatives from the Russian Border Guard (RBG) notified USCG District 17 of a possible illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) transshipment vessel operating within the U.S. EEZ. The Russian Border Guard stated that the vessel "SEA BREEZE" (Sierra Leone flag) was located 185 nm SSW of Attu, Alaska and was suspected of illegally fishing for crab in U.S. and Russian waters, and linked to organized crime. Russia planned to conduct a search for the M/V SEA BREEZE and requested USCG assistance. D17 responded to Russia's request by launching a HC130 from Air Station Kodiak to detect the suspect vessel and successfully located it operating in the Central Bering Sea (aka Donut Hole) with what appeared to be crab pots onboard. The aircraft attempted to hail and query the vessel, but the vessel was not responsive. All information was passed to the RBG who deployed afloat assets, reacquired the vessel in the Russian EEZ, and conducted an at-sea enforcement boarding. The Russian media reports the M/V SEA BREEZE was detained by the Kamchatka Border Guard for two violations: not authorized to fish in the Russian EEZ and failure to have a logbook onboard. Total fines exceeded 6.5 million rubles ($114,000). The vessel was escorted back to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky for further investigation. M/V SEA BREEZE represents the eighth potential IUU transshipment vessel attempting to operate along the U.S.-Russia maritime boundary line since January of 2017.

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