Fighting illegal fishing hands on

The $12 million custom-built patrol vessel Ocean Warrior docked for maintenance work to be conducted on it in the port of Walvis Bay recently.

09 June 2019 | Fishing

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) owns and operates Ocean Warrior as a research, survey and patrol vessel.

The organisation is a direct action marine conservation movement founded in 1977 with the mission to defend, conserve and protect the oceans of the world and marine wildlife.

It runs the world’s largest private navy and passionate volunteers around the world working in partnership with governments and law enforcement agencies.

SSCS deploys Ocean Warrior in its direct "Stop Illegal Fishing in the Southern Ocean" action campaigns against whaling and illegal fisheries activities.

Tracking the Japanese whaling fleet is the protest group's biggest challenge.

The Ocean Warrior has arrested 15 vessels belonging to Hong Long Fisheries and confiscated 15 boatloads of shark.

The arrest of the Hong Dong Fleet brought the total number of ships arrested to 18. Driftnets, and illegal fishing gear discovered were also confiscated.

The Ocean Warrior is the fastest patrol vessel with superior manoeuvrability and range in the SSCS fleet.

Its four engines and specially-installed long range fuel tanks at the expense of extra accommodation berths or storage enables the vessel to outrun many ships.

The ship which is about the size of an Olympic swimming pool is also equipped with a helicopter landing pad and a water cannon that can spray about 20,000 litres each minute. The cannon is used to repel pirates and Japanese Whalers who may attempt to board the vessel.

Ocean Warrior’s first mission was operation Nemesis, Sea Shepherd's 11th anti-whaling campaign. This was followed up by IUU fishing campaigns operation Apex Harmmony - Timour Leste in East Timour, and operation Jodari in Tanzania in 2018.

Tanzanian law enforcement agents joined Sea Shepherd officials on board the Ocean Warrior and patrolled the country’s sovereign waters against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and other crimes.

The patrols derailed illegal fishing operations, resulting in arrests and the retreat of poachers from Tanzanian waters.

The operation resulted in the arrest of two long-liners for illegally shark finning, 27 dhows for smuggling and the fining of 19 vessels that retreated from Tanzanian waters to avoid boarding’s and inspections.

After six months of successful at-sea patrols in the waters of Tanzania in 2018, Ocean Warrior arrived in Maputo, Mozambique to support FISH-i Africa Task Force countries with the development of plans to bolster the fight against IUU fishing in the Western Indian Ocean region.

Expanding the footprint of at-sea patrols were also discussed.

FISH-i Africa fosters regional cooperation on illegal fishing between East African countries.

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