World's largest fish factory ship arrested
Peruvian authorities have also accused the Damanzaihao of polluting the marine environment through the illegal discharge of fluids and effluents while anchored in Chimbote.
The Damanzaihao is the largest fish factory vessel in the world, capable of processing 547,000 tons of fish per year.
As a result of the Damanzaihao’s past illicit fishing activities, the government of Peru issued a multi-million dollar fine against the vessel in 2014. That debt reportedly remains outstanding.
According to UnderCurrentNews, the Damanzaihao is owned by Sustainable Fishing Resources, a subsidiary of China Fishery, and was recently set to be sold for $10.8 million to Singapore-based firm DVS-R in a $18 million package deal that included two other vessels.
Damanzaihao was built in 1980 by Japanese ship builder for a Norwegian tanker company as a 67,000dwt oil tanker. She was converted to fisheries operation in 2008 at a Chinese shipyard.
Sea Shepherd has applauded Peru's detention of the vessel. She Shepherd vessel M/V John Paul DeJoria was recently in Peruvian waters investigating and gathering intelligence to assist the Peruvian Government in its fight against illegal fishing.
Despite the Damanzaihao switching flag states from Peru to Belize while anchored in Peruvian waters, Peru is acting to investigate Damanzaihao's activities.
Under the Peruvian Penal Code, successful conviction carries a penalty of three to five years of incarceration.
Belize was previously “red carded” by the European Commission for its lack of commitment to tackle IUU fishing. While its red card has since been lifted, Sea Shepherd has called on Belize to also take action on the vessel. ■