October 18, 2011
U.S. Coast Guard Chooses Not To Blast Rat Infested Ship
By Chad Love
Remember the rat-infested illegal fishing boat recently captured off Alaska's coast? The one a U.S. senator was suggesting we use for target practice?
Tragically, despite overwhelming support for the idea, the U.S. Coast Guard chose not to blast the ship to bits. Instead, it was rid of rats, repaired and given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA will conduct a sale of the estimated 30 tons of ill-gotten fish.
From this story on alaskadispatch.com:
The Bangun Perkasa, a 140-foot fishing vessel seized for illegal fishing off Alaska's coast in September is being transferred from the custody of the U.S. Coast Guard to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA will determine the degree of the illegal fishing, which a press release said includes 30 tons of squid and 30 sharks, then coordinate a sale of the illegal catch. The ship was seized on Sept. 7 after a Coast Guard cutter -- alerted to the Bangun Perkasa's presence by Japanese authorities who had spotted the vessel -- observed the ship illegally using a three-mile drift net. After boarding the vessel, the crew of the Coast Guard cutter noted observing rats aboard the ship, prompting Sen. Mark Begich to encourage the destruction of the Bangun Perkasa in the open sea.
The ship was seized 2,600 miles off the coast of Kodiak, and was determined to be a stateless vessel. Among the crew were Indonesian, Vietnamese and Chinese deckhands. Deportation efforts began following the ship's seizure. As for the ship itself, the Coast Guard said in a press release that if the owner of the vessel wants to claim it, there's a procedure for that: Federal law provides a process where the owner is afforded a reasonable amount of time to come forward and claim the vessel. If the owner of the vessel is not identified within the statutory allotted time, the Bangun Perkasa will be forfeited and sold.
Anyone want to place odds on the boat's owner actually coming forward to claim it?