Press Release : Thailand will demolish 779 shipwrecks to prevent the return of illegal vessels news3

Press Release : Thailand will demolish 779 shipwrecks to prevent the return of illegal vessels

On 28 August 2018, General Chatchai Sarikulya, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, gave an interview to the press regarding the progress of the fleet management which is one of the crucial measures in tackling the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Thailand.
 
The Deputy Prime Minister stated that, since 2016, he has ordered inspection and identification marking of all vessels to be carried out. He has also followed up on fishing vessels reported as sunk, damaged, lost or sold abroad, utilising a joint effort by the competent governmental agencies; namely, the Command Center for Combatting the Illegal Fishing (CCCIF), the Ministry of Interior, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), the Marine Department, the Department of Fisheries, and the National Fisheries Association of Thailand. Fleet surveys were also conducted, culminating in an accurate number of 10,743 legal fisheries-related vessels. The Marine Department has declared the directory of these vessels as the “White List” since 16 August 2018.
 
The said directory is available for the general public, buyers and sellers of the fisheries-related vessels as a reference to allow the conduct of juristic relations in a transparent manner as well as to enable more effective vessel information verification. According to the Notification of the Marine Department, the ‘White List’ vessels are (1) vessels registered in accordance with the Thai Vessels Act B.E. 2481 (1938) and its amendments and in possession of valid vessel licenses with regard to the Navigation in Thai Waters Act B.E. 2456 (1913) and its amendments; (2) vessels granted with fishing licenses or registered as the fishery transshipment vessels according to the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries B.E. 2015 and its amendments; and (3) vessels not engaged in illegal activities, nor under prosecution, confiscated, frozen or detained by court order or authorized officials.
 
The Marine Department has published the White List on its website, http://www.md.go.th, which will be initially updated on a daily basis before eventually being done in real-time in order to render a more effective vessel inspection and to protect the legal vessels’ benefits.
 
In addition, the Deputy Prime Minister informed that the Thai authorities have surveyed all 22 coastal provinces to locate any shipwrecks found obstructing waterways or vessel navigation, and has found 779 of them. The Marine Department has called for the owners to identify themselves and demolish the wrecks within 30 days starting from 1 August 2018. The first group of 457 vessels, due on 31 August 2018, will be subject to Article 121 of the Navigation in Thai Waters Act B.E. 2456 (1913), and the owners shall be responsible for the wreck demolition. If the owner cannot be located by 1 September 2018, the demolition will be pursued by the Marine Department, and the same measure will also be administered to the remaining 322 vessels which are due on 16 September 2018.
 
The Deputy Prime Minister reiterated that the announcement of the accurate size of Thai fishing fleet demonstrates remarkable progress in Thailand’s fight against illegal fishing. The Royal Thai Government places great importance to the reform of the entire Thai fishing fleet to attain more accuracy, transparency and accountability. This will also support the management of fleet size to be in balance with marine resources, which portrays the new dimension of the integration of work between the Marine Department and the Department of Fisheries. Moreover, the wreck demolition will help prevent the illegal vessels from returning to fish again. The Royal Thai Government will keep moving forward with combatting illegal fishing to maintain confidence in Thai fisheries products and to promote sustainable fisheries for fishermen and the fishing industry in the long run.