Coast Guard, agency partners continue coordination efforts

Coast Guard District 17 NewsJUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard with endorsement from more than 20 agency partners awarded a contract Wednesday to mitigate a rat issue and to make necessary repairs aboard the Bangun Perkasa to ensure the vessel is in compliance with all state and federal laws before it’s moored in vicinity of Dutch Harbor.

The contract was awarded to Magone Marine in Dutch Harbor and the work is estimated to take approximately seven to ten days. The contractor will tow the vessel away from land while using live traps and anti-coagulant agents on the vessel to dispose of the rats and will make needed repairs to eliminate any issues that make the vessel a threat to the environment. Additionally, the contractor will maintain the refrigeration systems keeping the 30 tons of squid from spoiling.

The vessel and crew were suspected of large-scale illegal high-seas drift net fishing in the North Pacific Ocean and that practice indiscriminately kills massive amounts of mammals, sharks, sea birds, and fish and has significant negative impacts on our marine ecosystems and adversely affects the global food chain, said Capt. Craig Lloyd, the chief of response for Coast Guard District 17. “We need to eliminate any issues aboard the vessel that make it a threat to the environment so we can move forward with transferring this vessel to the Alaska Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement for their investigation and final disposition once due process of the law is followed,” added Lloyd.

The Bangun Perkasa crewmembers were transferred to Custom and Border Protection agents in Anchorage and will be interviewed by CBP, DHS, and NOAA.

NOAA will take the vessel from the Coast Guard for further investigation into illegal fishing activities by this and any related vessels, as well as into those behind and profiting from this unlawful activity. Once the investigation is completed, NOAA will forward its findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Acting on vessel sighting information provided by a maritime patrol airplane from the Fisheries Agency of Japan, Sept. 7, the Coast Guard Cutter Munro launched its MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew and located the fishing vessel Bangun Perkasa with 22 fishermen aboard, approximately 2,600 miles southwest of Kodiak.

The Bangun Perkasa’s crew reportedly abandoned their fishing nets and attempted to leave the area once they spotted the helicopter flying above them. The vessel was determined to be operating without valid flag state registration, and seized as a stateless vessel for violations of U.S. law. A Munro boarding team determined the vessel had more than 10 miles of drift nets, 30 tons of squid and approximately 30 shark carcasses aboard.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.