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GOOD THINGS




When the Press Release folder brings in some good things about difficult people NAUTICAL LOG feels they should be posted as well as the non-good things - fair and balanced opinions. So it was that over the Christmas Holiday when SSCS reported that their ship MS Bob Barker while cruising in the Southern Ocean had come across fishing gear consisting of longlines supported by buoys. On examining them they found no markings or identification numbers on the buoys as required by international maritime laws. It is illegal to set buoys, lines or nets without being tagged with identification numbers or the vessels name. Nearby was a 70 metre fishing vessel which left the area as soon as she was called, some four times, on the VHF. Clearly this was a poacher targeting Patagonian toothfish sold as Chilean sea bass in your local supermarkets seafood section.

All told the MS Bob Barker recovered 12 orange buoys and several kilometers of relatively new line plus the entire net. Now this is something really worth while and it was done without conflict with the poaching vessel which remains unidentified at present.

The second piece of news was much more complicated as it turned out to involve diplomats. In the Galapagos Islands the Ecuadorian Environmental Police K-9 Unit while conducting a routine check of airport luggage had a reaction. The dogs alerted to a black bag which was found to contain 20 dead seahorses and 37 pieces of shark fins. The owner of the black bag held both a Republic of Hong Kong passport and a diplomatic visa. As a result the black bags contents were confiscated and the HK passport holder released. According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 diplomats have judicial immunity with certain exemptions. Ecuador is new to environmental enforcement and handled this incident quite well in a difficult situation. The next step is to find out who supplied this items to the HK passport holder in the first place.

Now NAUTICAL LOG being disgusted at this outrageous abuse of diplomatic status we believe the name of the HK passport holder should be published and the diplomatic visa cancelled. This so called diplomat should be PNG'd (Persona Non Grata) by which ever country he/she is assigned to and be listed at the United Nations as someone not deserving of further diplomatic status.

Good Watch.

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