The UK’s Environment Secretary, George Eustice, reported that British firms exporting their fish out of the country will experience some friction after the post-Brexit transmission period. Mr Eustice noted that the UK has increased its patrols in UK waters to enforce access to its waters, also by hiring vessels from private companies and deciding not to mothball some old Royal Navy boats at the end of their service.
A Wellington-based fishing company, its sole director, and a master were fined a total of $449,500 over the sinking of the grossly overloaded fishing boat ‘Victory II’ in June 2017. The company was also ordered to pay $64,800 in reparation to the crew for unpaid wages and emotional harm.
Ireland’s MCIB issued an investigation report on the fire and loss of MFV Suzanne II, east of Arklow, in May 2019. While the exact source of the fire is unknown, the report highlights that the quick response of the crew and their knowledge on when to abandon ship was key to their successful rescue.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority reports that in January they received 52 incidents involving domestic commercial vessels, out of which 11 were serious. The Authority highlights that reporting incidents is a crucial part in guiding the way they improve maritime safety in Australian waters.
Following the rough weather conditions of the Storm Ciara in the UK and Ireland, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) crewmembers faced strong winds during their rescue operation upon a fishing boat that was stranded without power, on Sunday 9 February in Edinburgh, Scotland.
On 6 February 2020, the tanker SСF Angara, while en-route from the Port of Ust-Luga to Copenhagen, received a distress signal from the Russian fishing trawler Pongoma, which was sinking on the traverse of Tallinn, 26 nautical miles offshore. The tanker and the crew responded and rescued all seven members of the fishing vessel.
Nautilus International applauded the enforcement of the ‘Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) for fishing’ for providing decent working conditions for the fishing industry and protecting those working in the sector. The UK’s first report on the Convention is due 1 September 2021.
As the UK officially exits the EU, the automatic right of EU vessels to fish in British waters, under the EU’s common fisheries policy, is to end, in a move that is considered a key benefit of Brexit for the UK. Under its five key negotiating principles with the EU, the UK government has engaged to make a better deal for UK fishermen.
The US Coast Guard has dealt with two subsequent fatal incidents involving fishing vessels in the northeast coast. The first involved a sinking vessel off Maine, resulting in two deaths and the second a man overboard fatality off Nantucket.
Trawlers continue to operate illegally, as well as dodge fines in Ghana, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). Namely, last year, the vessel Lu Rong Yuan Yu 956 was caught in Ghanaian waters with illegal nets and undersized ‘small pelagic’ fish on board. Despite the owners of the vessel were fined US$1 million fine, they refused to pay.
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