The Damanzaihao – a pirate “super-fishing” vessel – arrested and seized in Peru and now struck off the Marine Registry of Belize.
Chimbote, Peru – June 7th, 2018 – In the latest setback for the colossal 50,000 ton pirate ship, Belize has revoked the registration of the Damanzaihao, the largest fish factory vessel in the world.
The International Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) stripped the Damanzaihao of its flag, at the request of Sea Shepherd Legal (SSL), for failing to appropriately complete its vessel registration materials and notify Belize of its record of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, according to a statement issued Wednesday.
The move renders the vessel stateless, according to marine conservation group Sea Shepherd, who has been working to get the vessel arrested and de-listed in the region.
Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson stated “Sea Shepherd will work hard to ensure that other potential flag states follow suit should the Damanzaihao ever be allowed to leave Peruvian waters. If it ends up on the other side of the world, I hope it is in the form of paperclips, after it has been scrapped”.
The Damanzaihao is the largest fish factory vessel in the world, capable of processing 547,000 tons of fish per year. The vessel has been languishing in port since 2014 after having its mackerel fishing license stripped. Pacific Mackerel stocks have collapsed in recent years, being caught increasingly for reduction into feed for the salmon farming industry.
Last week Peruvian authorities initiated a criminal investigation into China Fishery Group and detained the vessel in the El Ferrol bay, Chimbote.
The ship is being held for a period of 70 days for allegedly polluting the Peruvian sea and for criminal charges relating to IUU Fisheries Crimes spanning from South America to New Zealand.
Ministerio Publico Fiscalia de la Nacion said fines for the vessel could be up to $7 million USD (€6 million) for the damage.
Peruvian prosecutors and ministry officials are actively working with Sea Shepherd to defend the ongoing detention of the Damanzaihao pending a criminal investigation, with a hearing on the detention status scheduled for Monday, June 14.
In April, bankrupt China Fishery Group, said it would sell the controversial vessel to Singapore-based DVS-R PTE, in a New York Bankruptcy Court. Sea Shepherd has received documents affirming the sale has gone ahead within Peruvian waters, despite the vessel’s intention to slip port prior to the completion of sale.
Over the past two weeks, the Damanzaihao had 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, and informing the authorities the vessel would likely flee offshore and shirk its responsibilities.
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.
Sea Shepherd commends the governments of Peru and Belize and their commitment to combatting IUU Fishing.
Sea Shepherd is steadfast in its resolve to stop the Damanzaihao from destroying marine ecosystems across the planet.