Greens spokesperson for Fisheries, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson is calling on the Federal Government to apprehend the notorious pirate vessel MV Thunder which is currently being pursued by the Sea Shepherd in the Southern Ocean. After years of being pursued by Australia and other nations, the MV Thunder was arrested and impounded by Malaysian authorities in May of this year. Inexplicably it has been sighted by Sea Shepherd, poaching Patagonian toothfish near the Australian territory of Heard Island.
Senator Whish-Wilson says “The Australian government is in full knowledge that a notorious toothfish pirate vessel is off the coast of the Australian territory of Heard Island. They need to act now.
“The coalition broke a pre-election promise to send the ice-rated Customs vessel ACV Ocean Protector to patrol for illegal fishing last summer.
“After a tri-partisan recommendation from the Southern Ocean Senate Inquiry, the government has promised to carry out two forty-day Customs patrols in the Southern Ocean. But where are these patrols, it is nearly Christmas already.
“This is the government’s one chance to apprehend the MV Thunder. Finding illegal fishing vessels in the Southern Ocean is like finding a needle in a haystack. While the Government knows where this pirate vessel is, it needs to deal with it.
“In January 2004, as part of a special Southern Ocean naval operation (Operation Celesta*), the HMAS Success warned off a foreign fishing vessel from almost exactly the same location as the Sea Shepherd has located the MV Thunder this week.
“Is Scott Morrison going to act to rein in piracy in our Southern Ocean or is he going to let this lawlessness endangering our resources, environment and life at sea continue?**
“I continue to call for an investigation into how this boat was allowed free by authorities in Malaysia in the first place.
“The MV Thunder has been pursued by global authorities for almost a decade now. It was finally detained and now inexplicably is out fishing illegally again. We need to know how this failure occurred,” Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.
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