LARGEST FISH FACTORY VESSEL IN THE WORLD ARRESTED AND SEIZED IN PERU PENDING CRIMINAL CHARGES

 The noose tightens on the Damanzaihao –a notorious black listed vessel – barred from leaving Peru with fines unpaid and resuming its slaughter of over half a million tons of marine wildlife per year.

Chimbote, Peru – May 31st, 2018 – Agents from the Peruvian Environmental Prosecutor’s Office boarded the Damanzaihao last night, as part of a federal criminal investigation based on presumed acts of illegal fishing.  Acting on a formal request filed by the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office has ordered the vessel be detained pending further investigation.

The new criminal case is predicated on the same acts of illegal fishing – proven beyond all dispute – that led to the imposition of a multi-million dollar administrative fine in 2016.  In addition, Peruvian authorities have also accused the Damanzaihao of polluting the marine environment through the illegal discharge of fluids and effluents while anchored in Chimbote.

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Federal Environmental Prosecutor and Coast Guard Officers

Over the past week, the Damanzaihao has twice requested permission to leave port in an obvious attempt to escape the tightening noose. On April 20, 2018, Sea Shepherd delivered a formal letter to the Peruvian Ministry of Production (the agency that issued the multi-million dollar fine) imploring the government to take additional steps to ensure the ship pay for its crimes.

The Damanzaihao is the largest fish factory vessel in the world, capable of processing 547,000 tons of fish per year.

Sea Shepherd Vessel M/V John Paul DeJoria was recently in Peruvian waters, investigating and gathering intelligence to assist the Peruvian Government in its fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (“IUU”) Fishing.

Despite the Damanzaihao switching flag states from Peru to Belize while anchored in Peruvian waters, Peru is taking a strong stance in its efforts to bring the Damanzaihao to justice. Under the Peruvian Penal Code, successful conviction carries a penalty of three to five years of incarceration. Sea Shepherd applauds Peru’s commitment to combating IUU fishing and continues to provide support to Peru to help bring an end to the rampant over-exploitation of the oceans.

Belize was previously “red carded” by the European Commission for its lack of commitment to tackle IUU fishing. While its red-card has since been lifted, Belize must immediately take measures to refrain from inappropriately continuing to flag the Damanzaihao and allowing it to destroy marine ecosystems across the planet.

Sea Shepherd, together with its government allies in Peru, are working to ensure that the Damanzaihao’s efforts to exploit the oceans are thwarted in the long-term.

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Federal Environmental Prosecutor and Coast Guard Officers

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