Connect with us


Seized toothfish ship flees Phuket with illegal cargo



PHUKET: An illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) toothfishing vessel that was seized in Phuket in March slipped through officials fingers this week.

“The ship is gone,” said Charoen Chamniklang, the Thai Customs Investigation and Suppression Bureau (ISB) team leader. “It just disappeared in the blink of an eye.”

The Royal Thai Navy held an emergency meeting yesterday to determine what action should be taken. Its recommendations were sent to the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Center (THAI-MECC), confirmed a high ranking Third Area Command Navy officer, who declined to be named.

The ship, which recently had its name changed 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).

The Peruvian captain, Jose Alberto Zavaleta Salas, and South Service Co Ltd, which managed the cargo, were fined 51,000 baht by the Customs Department in June. The case was then passed over to the Marine Office for further charges to be levied.

“Thai authorities have used the country’s national laws to keep the Taishan in port. However, given the limited application of the law to international fisheries crimes, the vessel was subsequently reloaded with her catch and was kept at anchor for the past five months,” Sea Shepherd Global Conservation Society stated in a press release.

Leaders of the 2014 Operation Icefish campaign, a Southern Ocean defence initiative run by the Sea Shepherd, warn that there is now a high risk that the illegal cargo of toothfish will be sold on the black market and that the poaching vessel will return to Antarctica.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt and Captain Sid Chakravarty of the Sea Shepherd have called on Australian and New Zealand authorities, as well as relevant international enforcement agencies, to ensure the missing Interpol Purple-listed toothfish-poaching vessel does not completely disappear after going on the run.

“When we criticized Australia and New Zealand for not arresting the Kunlun [now Taishan] at sea, authorities in those two countries assured the international community that the most effective tool in the fight against these poachers was port state controls,” said Capt Hammarstedt, the Chairman of the Sea Shepherd Australia. “As the Taishan has now escaped from Thailand with its illegal catch in tow, we are seeing this blunder for what it really is. If the vessel had been arrested by Australia or New Zealand, the catch would never have been returned. Instead, Australia and New Zealand’s unwillingness to arrest the Kunlun [Taishan] and seize its catch at sea has allowed this poaching operation to continue and to profit from its crimes.”

— Chutharat Plerin


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Guides3 hours ago

Foodie Zone: Where to get vegan desserts in Bangkok 2022

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | 36 dead in a mass shooting at a nursery in northeast Thailand

Guides4 hours ago

5 best wine bars in Bangkok offering rich and quality wine

Sponsored10 hours ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

North East4 hours ago

Hip businesses in northeast Thai province offer tasty food and fun experiences

Crime4 hours ago

British CEO arrested at Bangkok Airport over 40 million baht fraud accusations

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand’s 5 national parks raise entry fees for foreigners by 100%

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok5 hours ago

Ari around invites Ari people to share good deeds through the app.

Press Room5 hours ago

Where to order cannabis/weed in Thailand

Chon Buri5 hours ago

Trouserless Chon Buri man crashes car into power pole

Entertainment5 hours ago

‘The Trapped 13’ lets Wild Boars speak for themselves

Thailand5 hours ago

Reported Bangkok VIP casino vanishes into thin air

World6 hours ago

Australia sets goal of preventing any more species from going extinct

Crime6 hours ago

Mass shooting in Thailand: 36 dead, including 24 children, 12 injured

Thailand6 hours ago

9 Thais arrested in South Korea for smuggling drugs

Drugs6 hours ago

Police snag 2.5 meth pills in checkpoint stings

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11