High Seas Drama As Korean Vessel Flees New Zealand Waters
03 March 2000
New Zealand is demanding the return of a Korean trawler spotted late last week within the New Zealand exclusive economic zone near the Chatham Islands.
The trawler Insung Ho was observed by an Airforce maritime surveillance flight, with a net on its deck in contravention of regulations that state gear must be stowed while in the EEZ.
A message instructing the vessel to head back to New Zealand was acknowledged, and the vessel eventually altered course to comply. With the reconnaissance aircraft low on fuel, a second aircraft was despatched. This second aircraft detected the vessel later that night steaming at full speed out of the zone with all its lights off and not responding to any radio communication. The vessel was pursued out onto the high seas where contact was broken and the aircraft returned to base.
Ministry of Fisheries spokesperson, Mr Dave Wood said there would definitely be consequences for the vessel owner and master despite the vessel's escape. This incident will affect the vessel and the company's ability to operate in New Zealand and potentially in other countries of the South Pacific region.
The Ministry of Fisheries has spoken with the vessel's New Zealand agent and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made representations to the Korean Government for the return of the vessel.
For further information please contact:
Deputy Manager Compliance, Ministry of Fisheries
Tel 04 4702 664