On January 31st, Sea Shepherd vessel the ‘M/V Farley Mowat’ was attacked by more than 50 assailants posing as fishermen on board 20 high speed boats while performing maritime conservation patrols inside the Vaquita Refuge in the Upper Gulf of California. A total of 52 skiffs were counted.
The poachers threw molotov cocktails and projectiles, including lead weights and large stones, smashing windows and setting the side of the Sea Shepherd ship on fire.
Sea Shepherd crewmembers fended the attackers off using emergency fire hoses while Mexican Navy soldiers and Federal Police stationed on board fired into the air and sea to prevent the attack.
The captain of the M/V Farley Mowat conducted anti-piracy maneuvers consisting of varying the vessel’s speed, the use of fire hoses and other anti-boarding techniques. When hailed by radio by the Mexican Naval Frigate Barrera, the M/V Farley Mowat sailed towards the vessel stationed inside the Refuge for more safety.
Two Navy Defender inflatable boats also went on the scene and were attacked by the poachers. Despite the violence of the assault, no one was injured.
These repeated attacks have made Sea Shepherd’s vital conservation efforts within the Vaquita Refuge challenging in recent weeks, casting a doubt on the vaquita’s chances of survival
Sea Shepherd noted.
During January, a similar attack took place, on the same ship. Namely, M/V Farley Mowat was attacked while it was conducting maritime patrols inside the Vaquita Refuge in the Upper Gulf of California, and had recovered three illegal gillnets, when the crew noticed approximately 35 skiffs operating inside the refuge.