Naham No 4 awaiting auction in SA could be stolen Taiwan vessel

Muscat - 

A fishing vessel with Naham No 4 stencilled onto its hull and alleged to be owned by an Omani company, could in fact be owned by a Taiwan fisheries company.

The vessel was apprehended last year for illegal fishing and is currently awaiting auction at a Cape Town harbour.

This vessel could in fact be Der Horng 569, which was reported stolen by its owners and who have initiated legal action against their former business partner.

According to documents available with Muscat Daily, Naham No 4 is registered with the Indian Ocean Trade Commission (IOTC) under the number IOTC00892. However, there are thought to be at least two, and possibly as many as four, Naham 4s in operation.

Further discrepancies have been found in the vessel's identification number  as records with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) show  it as Marine 28, flagged to Saint Kitts and Nevis. The number that corresponds to this information is 8655394.

The other vessel - Naham No 3 - on the IOTC register, owned by the same company, corresponds to IMO number 8650057.

In 2012, Naham No 4 was observed with the call sign A4DK5 on the hull, which is listed as belonging to Naham No 3. The correct call sign for Naham No 4, according to IOTC is A4DK6.

Based on photographic evidence obtained  and documents with this newspaper, there could be as many as four different 'Naham 4s' plying the seas, aside from the vessel apprehended in Cape Town.

A source with knowledge of illegal fishing and the case of Naham No 4 said that there are many  'long liners' that have been blacklisted by organisations like IOTC.

Vessels that are blacklisted see their value subsequently reduced as a result, and could be purchased cheaply by organisations looking to exploit Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) practices.

“You can buy these vessels very cheap as they are in principle useless unless you dare to fake the identity of the vessel. Of course, the same story if the vessel is stolen; you need to hide it by giving it a different identity,” he said.

“Then you employ cheap crew and send the boat out to sea for eight to 24 months at the time. Follow this recipe and you will get very rich. It is all about money.”

Previously, a GCC businessman attending an IOTC meeting in Mauritius last year was asked to leave by the organising committee because two vessels he owned were allegedly on the official blacklist for illegal fishing.

Meanwhile, the 18th session of IOTC was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from June 1-5. An Omani delegation attended the session headed by three Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries officials.  Representatives of two Omani shipping companies were also part of the delegation. 

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