Four Arrests in Ten Days in Liberia: Another Three Ships Busted by Coast Guard Stationed on Sea Shepherd Ship
Thursday, 28 Apr, 2022
Ten days after Sea Shepherd Global assisted the Liberian Coast Guard to arrest an unmarked trawler fishing inside of a prohibited area reserved for artisanal fishermen, another three fishing vessels have been busted off the coast of the West African country by a law enforcement detachment stationed on board the Sea Shepherd Bob Barker.
Photos by Alice Grégoire/Sea Shepherd Global.
On the 14th of April, two trawlers–Guo Ji 828 and Guo Ji 832–were apprehended after Liberian Coast Guard inspectors discovered that the number of crew on board exceeded the vessel’s life raft capacity–as well as the number of beds on the vessel.
Liberian, Ghanian and Sierra Leonean fishers were forced to ‘hot bunk’ it, sharing a makeshift shed on deck that enclosed a segregated kitchen space that was exposed to the elements, while officers were accommodated inboard.
“My Coast Guardsmen saw firsthand the consequences of vessels operating in violation of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, when they saved twelve souls from a sunken ferry last year. The Liberian Coast Guard cannot–and will not–accept that vessels are operating in Liberian waters, putting profits before safety."Liberia’s Minister of National Defense, the Honorable Maj Gen (Ret.) Daniel Ziankahn.
Last year, the Sea Shepherd ship Age of Union worked together with the Liberian Coast Guard to rescue twelve people when a ferry sank after taking on water off the Liberian coast. Many passengers died, including children, because Niko Ivanka did not carry flotation devices for the entire complement.
Less than a week after the arrest of the two trawlers, a purse seiner named Bao Lucky was arrested for similar safety violations.
“Life rafts–two of which had expired inspection certifications and one which was missing any kind of documentation at all–were improperly stored, all fire extinguishers were either expired or unserviceable and the ship’s Life Saving Appliances were in either poor condition or were non-existent”, said Bart Schulting, captain of Bob Barker.
Adding insult to injury, many of the documents provided by the captain of Bao Lucky were invalid as they were issued under the previous name of the vessel. A number of passports for the crew were either missing or expired.
All three fishing vessels were arrested and now join the previously arrested Global 8 in detention in the Port of Monrovia.
“While the arrests are not directly fisheries related, vessels with scant consideration for the safety of their crews often show equal disregard for fisheries regulations and environmental law”, said Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd Global’s Director of Campaigns.
About Operation Sola Stella
Since 2017, Sea Shepherd Global has partnered with the Liberian Coast Guard to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing through joint at-sea patrols under the direction of Liberia’s Minister of National Defense, the Honorable Maj Gen (Ret.) Daniel Ziankahn. To date, 19 vessels have been arrested for illegal fishing and other crimes.
On February 11, 2019, Sea Shepherd Global was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) by Liberian President Dr. George Manneh Weah in recognition of the success of Operation Sola Stella. The DSO is the highest military award given by the Ministry of National Defense and the Armed Forces of Liberia, recognizing exceptional service to the Republic of Liberia.