Sea Shepherd Global has committed to sending its 55m patrol ship Allankay to the South Pacific island country of Tuvalu to support its efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The eco-activists have signed a memorandum of understanding with Tuvalu’s government, agreeing that Allankay will be available to carry a Tuvalu Police Service detachment authorised to board, inspect and arrest crew of fishing-vessels engaged in criminal activity in the island’s waters.
Tuvalu is a scuba-diving destination, but Sea Shepherd says that more than 50% of its economy depends on fisheries. In recent years satellite imagery has spotlighted a number of “dark vessels” present there, so named because they fail to transmit their position through a mandatory location transponder.
“Use of the Allankay will allow the government of Tuvalu to make such intelligence actionable, as the ship has the range and endurance to allow for law-enforcement agents stationed on board to control the entirety of Tuvalu’s maritime space,” said Sea Shepherd Global’s campaign director Peter Hammarstedt.
“We know that there are operators out there fishing illegally, and we are honoured to provide the platform that allows for these criminals to be arrested and brought back to [the capital] Funafuti to face justice.”
The arrangement came about after Tuvalu had learnt of Sea Shepherd Global’s conservation successes in West Africa and requested its assistance. Since 2016, the organisation says it has helped Gabon, Liberia, Tanzania, the Gambia, Benin, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Namibia, resulting in 85 vessels detained for fishing illegally.
It will not be charging Tuvalu for the use of Allankay, making it the first South Pacific country to benefit from such an arrangement.
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