I was doing a leisurely feature on Sea Shepherd's Operation Icefish when suddenly it took a spectacular turn, and so I had to rush to file. Voila the result.Operation Icefish when suddenly it took a spectacular turn, and so I had to rush to file. Voila the result.
Follow-up: It took seven hours for the Sam Simon to reach Sao Tome. The vessel was met on shore by an agent who said he’d received a call from Spain to arrange for the departure of the crew of the Thunder. But the Sao Tome coast guard had other ideas: they detained the entire crew. As of April 11, the crew and officers of the Thunder were still detained in Sao Tome. An Interpol team was expected to arrive on April 12, and a major focus of their investigation will be to determine who exactly owns the ship, and who told its captain to scuttle it.
The Sam Simon left immediately and is headed to Europe. The Bob Barker is headed for Ghana, where evidence collected by two of its crew members who boarded the sinking Thunder, including the ship computer, will be turned over to the Interpol office there.
The ship was a top-of-the-line trawler built in Norway in 1969 named Vesturvon. The Bob Barker crew noted that she was in pristine condition, testimony to the profitability of the illegal toothfish fishery. It uses banned bottom gillnets that catch toothfish much faster than the legal longlines – but also kill everything else, hence its ban.
The Kunlun is still detained in Phuket and the Viking is also detailed in a port in Malaysia. The whereabouts of the other three “Bandit Six” ships, involved in illegally fishing toothfish for the past decade, are not known.