PHUKET: Authorities in Senegal have detained the internationally wanted toothfish-poaching vessel Kunlun, which slipped through the fingers of Phuket authorities after having been seized in March last year.
Reports allege that the illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing vessel had previously falsified its registry, claiming Indonesia as its flag state. This allowed the vessel to be detained in Senegal on formalities regarding its certification and flag status.
The ship, which had recently changed its name from Kunlun to Taishan, was apprehended in Phuket after it falsely reported offloading 182 tonnes of illegally caught Patagonian toothfish, valued at 179 million baht, as 182 tonnes of grouper, valued at just 15mn baht (story here). However, after months of detention, the ship was able to flee the port it was moored at in Phuket (story here).
“Finding a vessel such as the Kunlun, once it had escaped, was like finding a needle in a haystack. Even with modern satellite technology and intelligence sharing, there remain enough avenues for such repeat offenders to disappear,” said Captain Siddharth Chakravarty of the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.
“Thailand took the first step and that was to arrest the vessel, detain her in port and aid the investigations into its operations.”
Three Phuket Customs officials were transferred out of the province following the ship’s escape in September last year.
“The Phuket Customs chief and two other officers were transferred to Bangkok,” explained Charoen Chamniklang from the Thai Customs Investigation and Suppression Bureau. “They allowed the ship to refuel, as it needed to keep all 182 tons of toothfish on board frozen. Once completely refueled, the Kunlun managed to escape.”
Other than levying a fine for falsely reporting the toothfish as grouper, officials had no authority to keep their cargo, explained Mr Charoen.
“The ship had already been through all the legal formalities at the Customs Office. However, the Phuket Marine Office was still investigating it for issues with its registration,” Mr Charoen explained.
Since escaping Phuket, there have been concerns that the vessel would be offloading its catch and returning to Antarctica. However, with its detention in Senegal, it is confirmed that the Kunlun, renamed Asian Warrior, did not return to the Southern Ocean after it was pursued by the Sea Shepherd ship Sam Simon last February.
“In previous years, illegal vessels would simply change their names and flags at will and use international loopholes and the lack of international cooperation to survive and remain in operation,” said Capt Chakravarty. “It is incredibly satisfying to know that the Kunlun, which was chased out of the Southern Ocean by my vessel in February 2015, has been unable to resume its illegal fishing operations.”
Out of the six known toothfish-poaching vessels, which Sea Shepherd calls the ‘Bandit 6’, five are now out of action. Only one, the Viking, remains at large.
Sea Shepherd’s flagship, Steve Irwin, will now continue to target the Viking as part of its current Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, Operation Icefish 2015-16 (story here).
“A continued strong commitment by state authorities across the world, heralded by the actions of Interpol’s Project Scale, has ensured that another toothfish poacher has been detained. International cooperation, spearheaded by two Southern Ocean campaigns by Sea Shepherd, has broken the back of the organized crime syndicates operating these vessels,” said Capt Chakravarty. “Cooperation between entities is a must in the work to be done to tackle IUU fishing.”
The Sea Shepherd crew will employ direct-action techniques to fill a law enforcement void that continues to be exploited by the remaining illegal toothfishing vessels, the group explained.
Despite the commitment shown by Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to prevent operators of ships such as the Kunlun from illegally using their ports, Capt Chakravarty was unable to rule out that Southeast Asia would not be revisited by toothfish poachers when it came to unloading their cargo.
“The applicability of international fishing violations remains limited in these countries,” said Capt Chakravarty.
“The oceans are in peril and our actions remain the only proactive and definite policing measures to tackle illegality. We intend to embrace the responsibility with courage and fortitude, and once again locate, investigate and shut down the most notorious poachers on this planet.”
— Isaac Stone SimonelliKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Phuket reports 12 new coronavirus cases, all from Patong
The southern island province of Phuket confirmed 12 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus today (Thursday), bringing the total on the island to 87. All appear to have originated in the island’s Patong area, most from the Bangla Road red light district.
The town of Patong was placed on unofficial curfew yesterday as its governor issued a public decree urging residents to stay in their home at all costs, and promising delivery of necessities to those in need to keep them from venturing out.
The details of the new cases are…
Case 76: A 28 year old Thai woman, a restaurant owner in Patong. she has a history of contact with foreigners and visiting Bangla Road. She fell sick on March 20, 1 contact is considered at risk and is being sought by authorities.
Case 77: A Swedish woman, aged 52, a tourist who came to Thailand with her husband on March 13. She has history of visiting Bangla road, although she stayed a hotel in Karon. She became sick on March 21, 2 contacts are at high risk.
Case 78: A 26 year old Thai woman, a waitress in Patong who had close contact with foreigners and visited Bangla Road. She got sick on March 21, 2 contacts are at high risk.
Case 79: A 37 Russian woman, a tourist in Patong for more than a month. She has an alleged history of partying in Bangla Road and had contact with case 49, a Ukranian man. She became sick on March 20 and 1 other person is at high risk.
Case 80: A 30 year old woman from Kazakhstan, also a tourist in Patong for more than a month, who also had contact with case 49. 1 person is considered at high risk.
Case 81: A 48 year old Thai woman, masseuse in Patong at the same massage shop as cases 32 and 62. She fell sick on March 22 and 6 people are believed to be at high risk
Case 82: A 39 year old Thai man, a worker in a phone shop in a Patong mall. He has a history of close contact with foreigners and visited Bangla Road. He got sick on March 22, 7 people are at high risk.
Case 83: A 37 year old Thai woman, worked in the same Italian restaurant, as cases 59 and 60. High risk contacts total 15
Case 84: A 36 year old Thai man, a chef in Italian restaurant, who became sick on March 30. 12 people are at high risk.
Case 85: A 51 year old Thai woman, a waitress in same restaurant. She fell sick March 25, 13 people are thought to be at high risk.
Case 86: A 30 year old Thai man, a chef in same Italian restaurant, who got sick on Tuesday. Contacts at high risk number 13 people.
Case 87: A 32 year old Thai woman, a tour guide who had contact with a group of friends in Bangla Road. She got sick on sick on March 24, 5 people are at high risk.
SOURCE: Ministry of Public HealthKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Bangkok Airways cancels all domestic flights from April 7
Bangkok Airways has announced today that they will cancel all it domestic flights from April 7 – 30. The company’s vice president, Tresarum Sitakalin says the flights that are being cancelled are…
- Bangkok – Chiang Mai
- Bangkok – Phuket
- Bangkok – Trat
- Bangkok – Sukhothai
- Bangkok – Samui
- Samui – Phuket
“The company had previously decreased flight frequencies on these routes and also using some of their smaller ATR aircraft instead of their Airbus 320 aircraft.”
“From April 7 onwards until April 30, we will cancel all flights.”
Requesting for a refund can be done at www.bangkokair.com/refund or contact their ticketing offices at +662 270 6699 or Bangkok Airways Call Centre on 1771 . For passengers who purchased their tickets through travel agencies, please contact their travel agency directly.
SOURCE: The Nation
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Urgent repatriation notice for Swiss and German citizens as immigration rules tighten
An urgent repatriation notice has been issued for Swiss and citizens in Thailand. According to Richard Barrow’s Twitter feed, flights are being urgently chartered to evacuate citizens of both nations: A notice posted on the Embassy of Switzerlad’s website reads…
For Swiss travellers in Thailand: Swiss charter flights from Thailand to Switzerland/update…
Bangkok – Zurich
– Good news: seats are still available for a 2nd charter on Sunday April 5 (at 13:05). To register, please send the requested information below for all concerned passengers to: firstname.lastname@example.org -> Deadline: Thursday April 2, 20:00
Phuket – Zurich
– The charter flight is now confirmed for Thursday, April 2, at 23:35. People who have registered will receive a confirmation soon.
– Good news: a few seats are still available. To register, please send the requested information below for all concerned passengers to email@example.com ->
Requested information to be sent…
1. Point of departure: Bangkok or Phuket
2. Family name, first name(s)
3. Date of birth
4. Passport number/Residence permit in Switzerland
5. Validity date of the passport or residence permit in Switzerland
6. Phone number where you can be reached at any time
• Please note that no health certificate is required to board on these flights. However, people with Covid-19 related symptoms are not allowed to travel. More information on these flights is available on our website (www.eda.admin.ch/bangkok)
A similar notise was posted for German nationals…
Due to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, travel restrictions and requirements in Thailand are sometimes difficult to navigate. One netizen told The Thaiger this morning that Immigration officials in Hua Hin were demanding the following for an extension of stay…
- Application form (TM.7)
- Fee 1,900 baht
- 2 photographs (passport photo)
- Copy of applicant’s passport (Data page, Visa page, Stamp page, TM6 card)
- Letter of confirmation and request for a temporary stay from the embassy and consulate in Thailand
- Proof of address: In case stay at Hotel – Letter of confirmation of stay from hotel – Hotel booking – Photograph of foreigner at hotel 2-3 pictures. In case rent a house/condominium – Rental agreement – Copy of Lessor’s ID card and copy of Lessor’s house book – Copy of house book from where you rent – Photograph of foreigner at house/condominium 2-3 pictures
- In case of foreigner own the property – Copy of a house book – Copy of Title deed – Photograph of foreigner at the property 2-3 pictures
- Map from house to immigration
- Note: Foreigner must prepare all documents for 2 copies
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