Pirate ship boarded and branded

Feature story - April 13, 2006
Activists from the Esperanza have climbed on board an illegal cargo vessel full of fish stolen from Guinean waters. Greenpeace and the Environmental Justice Foundation tailed the "Binar 4" for six days, as it sailed from West Africa to dump its pirate catch on the European market.

Activists climb on board the illegal cargo ship "Binar 4" as it awaits entry to the port of Las Palmas.

The team of activists will "police" the vessel in the port of LasPalmas until Spanish authorities move to confiscate its illegal cargo.As the "Binar 4" waited to enter port it was branded with the words"Stolen Fish" - painted five times across both sides of its hull.

For the latestupdates on this story visit ourweblog direct from theEsperanza!

On April 6th, during an investigation into pirate fishing in WestAfrica - in which more than 100 vessels were documented - the crew ofthe Esperanza spotted the "Binar 4" illegally transshipping(transferring fish from multiple trawlers onto the cargo ship) fishfrom Guinean waters. The Esperanza trailed the pirate ship to theSpanish port of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands where the fish were tobe laundered into the European market

"The Guinean authorities have confirmed this ship broke the law. Wewill ensure that no further laws are broken before the authorities inLas Palmas confiscate the stolen fish on board", said Sarah Duthie,Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

More than 11,000 boxes of fish are on the Binar 4, taken from one ofthe poorest regions in the world. West Africa is the only place on theplanet where fish consumption is actually falling. So far, theauthorities in Las Palmas have refused to authorize the offloading ofthe illegal catch.

"We are encouraged to see that Spain and Guinea have taken actionagainst this vessel and we hope that this is the beginning of a moreeffective cooperation to improve control of pirate fishing vesselsattempting to enter Las Palmas", said Helene Bours of the EnvironmentalJustice Foundation.

       Illustrating partof the web of legal and illegal fishing activities we observed in WestAfrica - click here for more info on why the"Binar 4" is illegal.

Part of Defending Our Oceans, Greenpeace and theEnvironmental Justice Foundation have been carrying out a jointinvestigation in West Africa during which over 100 vessels weredocumented. The evidence gathered suggests that almost half the boatsobserved were engaged in, or linked to illegal fishing activities.

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