Monday, April 6, 2015

The Pirates Lose! The Thunder SINKS IN THE ATLANTIC!

Greetings everyone. Let's get right into this thing. Roughly 18 hours ago news began to break that the toothfish poaching vessel Thunder had put out a mayday call. The Sea Shepherd vessels Sam Simon and Bob Barker who had been tailing the ship since December answered the call and intended to help the crew of the Thunder. The call was that the poaching vessel was sinking. Soon after the call was sent out, the 35 crewman of the Thunder were seen in lifeboats. Sea Shepherd acted and sent out it's small boats to recover the crew who had legitimately abandoned ship.

Photo: Sea Shepherd

Three hours later, three crew members of the Bob Barker boarded the Thunder and the situation quickly became apparent. The engine room of the Thunder was completely flooded and all hatches were open. Computers, mobile phones, and a few other items including a tooth fish were removed from the sinking ship.

Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

It appears that the crew of the Thunder had intentionally sank the boat. This was probably done to destroy vast evidence of the poaching operations in the Southern Ocean. The Thunder is now at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and the 110 day pursuit of the illegal fishing vessel has come to an end. It has also been reported that the captain of the Thunder applauded and cheered as his ship went down.

Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

The captain of the sinking ship cheered as it went down, say activists.
Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

So the Thunder is no more. Elsewhere, Sea Shepherd's efforts alongside the New Zealand Navy's has not gone unnoticed. In my last blog I stated that the Kunlun was to be release. Well that never happened and instead Thailand decided to detain the ship and arrest the captain and crew. Days ago a second  poaching vessel, the Viking which was also monitored by both New Zealand and Sea Shepherd was detained in Malyasia. Three of the Bandit 6 fishing vessels have had their catches removed either by law enforcement or via sinking. Overall the estimated loss for the poaching operation (not counting the total loss of the Thunder and possibly the other two ships) is estimated to be between 6 and 12 million dollars. Certainly a massive hit! Once again I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Sea Shepherd for tracking these guys to the bitter end. 110 days of pursuit is a world record and it was all for the toothfishes of the Southern Ocean. Operation Icefish has turned out to be a huuuuuge success!

Just some notes at the end here. The nets of the Thunder were recovered by the Sam Simon during the chase so there was not much in the way of netting onboard the ship when it went down. 110 days of running also puts a massive dent in the fuel reserve of the ship. Chances are the choice to scuttle the ship came as the fuel supplies were dwindling and no safe ports were within reach.

In other news, the Japanese whaling fleet (just 2 ships) returned from the Southern Ocean for the first time with ZERO whales killed. They went down to survey for a while, but no harpoons were on the ships. Japan still plans to return to lethal whaling next year.

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