MADRID, Spain - April 10 - As a pirate fishing vessel loaded with fish stolen from West Africa makes its way towards Las Palmas, Greenpeace and the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) this morning presented evidence to the Fisheries Ministry in Madrid, outlining why the authorities should ban the ship from the port when it arrives - in two or three days time.
The environmental and human rights groups documented the refrigerated
cargo ship (reefer), Binar 4 (1) four days ago, transshipping fish in
international waters. The fish had been caught in Guinean waters, and
therefore should only have been transshipped in the port of Conakry
according to Guinean law (2). The reefer is headed for Las Palmas, a
port notorious for allowing pirate vessels to offload stolen fish, with
the Greenpeace ship M.Y Esperanza following behind.
"This is Spain's chance to prove they are serious about making piracy
history," said Sebastian Losada of Greenpeace Spain, after delivering
the documents to officials in Madrid. "If they do not act, they will
become partners in crime with the pirates."
During the time the Esperanza was in West Africa, Greenpeace
and EJF witnessed 104 foreign flagged vessels, from Korea, China,
Italy, Liberia and Belize. The evidence gathered suggests that 50% of
the vessels observed were engaged in, or linked to illegal fishing
activities, including fishing without a license, operating with no name
or hiding their identity, trawling inside the 12-mile zone restricted
to local fishermen, or transshipping anywhere other than the Guinean
capital Conakry. The Binar 4 was taking fish from ships licensed to
fish, but all the vessels involved had broken the laws concerning
"In the past few weeks we have begun to unravel the web of deceit
around pirate fishing," said Greenpeace campaigner Sarah Duthie, from
on board the Esperanza. "The way the legal and illegal ships work
together is designed to deceive, but in the end it is a simple case of
stealing food from others."
"Unless there is concrete and sustained action against pirate fishing
by all governments the problem will continue to grow," warned Helene
Bours of Environmental Justice Foundation. "Local communities and the
environment will not survive unless the pirate fishing industry is