Just like its namesake from centuries ago, the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessel, the Viking, has been ‘buried at sea’ by the Indonesian Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries earlier this week.
The Australian Government has welcomed the news that the last active Southern Ocean IUU vessel has been sunk and can no longer continue to ransack the ocean’s fish resources.
Prior to its sinking on 14 March 2016, the Viking was arrested on 26 February in Indonesian waters near the Riau Islands and was escorted to port where it was inspected and found to be in breach of Indonesian laws and subsequently destroyed at sea.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, congratulated the Indonesian Government for their action and acknowledged the role of Australian authorities which led to this outcome.
“This is a great outcome and I thank the Indonesian authorities for their commitment and leadership to eradicating IUU fishing,” Minister Ruston said.
“Collaboration and information sharing by Australian Government agencies like the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), with Indonesia and our international partners has played an important part in interrupting the IUU operator’s plans to access port facilities which ultimately led to its capture and sinking.
“Australia works closely with its international counterparts, as part of the Regional Plan of Action, a multinational plan that encourages collaboration to detect and deter IUU fishing.
“IUU fishing harms the sustainability of marine resources and Indonesia’s actions will serve as a strong deterrent against other IUU operators seeking to plunder our marine resources.”
The Viking has a long history of engaging in IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean and was the subject of an INTERPOL Purple notice. The vessel was boarded and searched in September last year by the Australian Border Force on the high seas north-west of Christmas Island. This information was then shared with our international counterparts.
More information on how the Australian Government is combatting IUU fishing can be found at afma.gov.au.