Source & Author: FIS.com
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and the Environment has decided to impose an economic sanction of almost EUR 5.3 million on six companies and six natural persons involved in illegal fishing operations.
This is the result of ‘Operation Sparrow 2’, which allowed, after judicial authorization, the inspection of the headquarters of several companies in the provinces of A Coruña and Pontevedra, on July 28, 29 and 30, 2015.
During the course of these actions, carried out by the Ministry’s inspection services, a wealth of documentation was obtained from the analysis of which the business structure, allegedly aimed at concealing the ownership, management and operation of the vessels Viking and Seabull 22, was deduced.
Both ships had been identified by various international agencies, such as the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources or the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organization as vessels involved in IUU fishing. For this reason, in 2010 the two vessels were included in the EU list of IUU vessels.
The Ministry reported that, in order to obstruct the pursuit of their activities, in addition to using interposed companies of different nationalities, those responsible usually changed the name of the vessels. Thus, the Viking has also used the names Octopus I, Berber Snake, Pion, The Bird, Chu Lim, Yin Peng, Thor 33, Ulyses, Gale, South Boy or Pisces, while the Seabull 22 is also known as Itziar II, Carmela, Gold Dragon, Golden Sun, Notre Dame, Mare or Mare Serenitatis.
At present, both ships are inoperative thanks to international collaboration. In particular, the vessel Viking was sunk by Indonesian authorities off its coast, while the ship Seabull 22 ship was scrapped in Cape Verde.
The companies sanctioned are: Capensis Trade (EUR 600,000), World Ocean Fishing (EUR 600,000), Insuabela (EUR 600,000), Baymarten Inversions (EUR 100,000), Global Sea Trading (EUR 300,000) and Lastiff (EUR 250,000).
The sanctioning order also declares six natural persons linked to those companies responsible for several infractions for having maintained relations of diverse nature with these ships, prohibited by national, community and international regulations. The economic penalty applied to these six persons amounts to EUR 2.82 million.
All these sanctions amount to a total of EUR 5,27 million, and they are added to sanctions for disqualification for fishing activities ranging from 5 to 14 years, and the prohibition to obtain subsidies and public aid in periods ranging between 5 and 12 years.
In addition, one of the individuals implicated is sanctioned for obstruction to the document inspection and destruction tasks, with a fine of EUR 60,000.