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The hunt for the fish pirates who exploit the sea

In the haze of an overcast April afternoon, the rust-stained hull of the Andrey Dolgov slapped its way through the ocean swell, oily water gushing from the ship’s waterlogged bilge as it made a desperate attempt to flee.

四月的一个下午,阴霾笼罩,锈迹斑斑的多尔戈夫号(Andrey Dolgov)在海上破浪前行,拼命想要逃跑。舱底进了水,海水涌出,混着油污。

Pursued by a sleek, heavily armed naval patrol boat, the ungainly fishing vessel had little hope of escape. A drone and surveillance aircraft circled overhead while the Indonesian navy ship bore quickly down, closing a trap that had been months in the making. The crew of the Andrey Dolgov surrendered.


It seems hard to believe that this creaking, corroded vessel was one of the most wanted on the high seas. Yet it slipped through the authorities’ fingers on several occasions and managed to elude ships sent to chase it across the ocean.


The Andrey Dolgov, or STS-50 or Sea Breez 1 as it also sometimes called itself, had been plundering the oceans of their most valuable living resource – fish. It was part of an international organised criminal network that thrives between the blurred lines of maritime law and on the corruption of officials.

多尔戈夫号又叫STS-50,有时也自称海风一号(Sea Breez 1)。该船一直劫掠海洋中最宝贵的鱼类资源 ,是有组织国际犯罪网络的一个环节,利用海事法律的模糊地带和官员腐败,发展壮大。

The operation to capture the vessel and its crew was the culmination of months of international cooperation between police and maritime authorities, painstaking detective work and satellite tracking worthy of a spy thriller.


“The captain and the crew were shocked to have been caught,” says Andreas Aditya Salim, part of the presidential taskforce in Indonesia that led the operation to snare the Andrey Dolgov. “They tried to say they did not go fishing as the refrigerator and other parts of the vessel were broken.”

印尼总统特遣队的萨利姆(Andreas Aditya Salim)说:“船长和船员被抓获后,感到非常震惊。”萨利姆领导了此次诱捕多尔戈夫号的行动。“他们自称没有偷渔,因为冰箱和船只的其他部分都坏了。”

When Indonesian naval officers boarded the ship after ambushing it at the mouth of the Strait of Malacca, a major shipping lane between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, they found a huge stack of 600 finely meshed gill nets that could stretch up to 18 miles (around 29km) in length if deployed.


In a single trip the nets allowed those on board to haul up $6m (£4.56m) worth of fish, illegally taking it ashore where it was either sold on the black market or mixed with legal catches for sale. Ultimately the fish ends up on supermarket shelves, in restaurants and on people’s tables.


“Approximately 20% of all global catch is illegal, unreported or unregulated,” explains Katie St John Glew, a marine biologist at the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton. And the impacts are widespread, hurting the fish stocks themselves, the fishing industry and consumer trust. “If illegal fishing ultimately could result in stocks collapsing, this will then affect the livelihood of fishers across the globe.”

“全球捕捞量中,有20%是非法、未上报或未受管制的,如果非法捕捞最终导致渔业资源储量严重不足,将影响全球渔民的生计。”南安普顿大学(University of Southampton)国家海洋学中心(National Oceanography Centre)的海洋生物学家格莱夫(Katie St John Glew)解释说。非法捕捞的影响十分广泛,既损害了渔业资源本身、也会使合法捕捞者和消费者失去信任。

Over the 10 years or so it is thought to have been operating illegally, the Andrey Dolgov is estimated to have looted up to $50m (£38m) worth of fish from the oceans. With that kind of money to be made, it is easy to see why it illegal fishing is a tempting enterprise for criminal organisations.


“These vessels operate in international waters outside the jurisdiction of nation states,” says Alistair McDonnell, part of the fisheries crime team at Interpol who helped coordinate the hunt for the Andrey Dolgov. “This is something that the criminals exploit.”

“这些船只在国家管辖范围以外的公海活动,”国际刑警组织(Interpol)渔业犯罪小组组员麦克唐纳(Alistair McDonnell)说,他组织协调了对多尔戈夫号的追捕。“犯罪分子就是在利用法律管辖问题打擦边球。”

But the effect of this exploitation runs deeper than an opportunity for criminals to make money. It is often involves the corruption of public officials, fraud, money laundering and slavery – many of the crews on board these vessels are forced labour, imprisoned on a boat out at sea, often thousands of miles from home.

但这种不法行为比一般投机犯罪行为更恶劣,通常涉及公职人员腐败、欺诈、洗钱和奴役 ,渔船上许多船员都被强迫劳动,被囚在船上,往往离家数千英里之遥。

Then there is the environmental impact.


“Illegal fishing is one of the greatest threats to sustainable fisheries,” explains Matthew Camilleri, head of fisheries at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. “The fishing gear they use can also be very destructive to fragile ecosystems like coral reefs. This is why the international community is putting a lot of effort into combating it.”

联合国粮食及农业组织(Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)渔业负责人卡米莱里(Matthew Camilleri)说:“非法捕捞是可持续渔业发展面临的最大威胁之一。他们使用的渔具对珊瑚礁等脆弱的生态系统也具有很大的破坏性。这就是国际社会大力打击的原因。”

The Andrey Dolgov did not begin its life as an illegal fishing vessel. Built in 1985, the 54m-long (178ft) vessel was constructed as a tuna longline fishing boat at the Kanasashi Zosen shipyards at the scenic port of Shimizu in Japan, in the shadow of the volcanic Mount Fuji. Sailing as the Shinsei Maru No 2, the 570-ton boat operated for years legally under the Japanese flag in the Pacific and Indian Oceans for the Japanese seafood company Maruha Nichiro Corporation.

一开始,多尔戈夫号还是一艘合法的捕鱼船。这艘船原是金枪鱼延绳钓渔船,原名神靖丸二号(Shinsei Maru No 2),54米长(178英尺),重达570吨,1985年由日本远东造船厂建造完成,船厂就位于富士山脚下风景秀丽的清水港。该船注册为日本渔船,来往太平洋和印度洋中,由日本海鲜公司玛鲁哈株式会社(Maruha Nichiro Corporation)运营多年。

The vessel then appears to have changed hands a number of times after 1995 before it ended up sailing under the Filipino flag as the Sun Tai 2 until about 2008 when it joined the Republic of Korea’s fishing fleet, changing hands at least four times in under a year to owners including a Mr Boo-In Park and the STD Fisheries Corporation.

1995年之后,经过多次易手,该船被卖到菲律宾,改名为太阳二号(Sun Tai 2)。2008年加入韩国捕鱼船队,一年内至少四次易主,经手者包括朴富英先生(Boo-In Park)和标准渔业公司(STD Fisheries Corporation)。

At some point between 2008 and 2015, the vessel appears to have been refitted as an Antarctic toothfish boat, capable of operating in the wild Southern Ocean and storing fish for long periods on board. Toothfish are highly prized in restaurants around the world, sometimes referred to as "white gold" due to their value, but require specific licenses to fish.

2008年至2015年间,该船似乎已被改装为南极美露鳕(Antarctic toothfish)渔船,能够在南极海域作业,并在船上长期储存鱼类。美露鳕在世界各地的餐馆中备受推崇,价格昂贵,以至于被称为“白色黄金”,但需要特定的许可证才可捕捞。

While the boat is suspected of having been fishing illegally for at least 10 years, it first came to the attention of the authorities on the international stage in October 2016 when Chinese officials found it trying to offload toothfish that had been caught illegally. By now the boat was called the Andrey Dolgov and was flying the Cambodian flag, operated by a company registered in Belize. A year earlier it had been photographed off the coast of Punta Arena, on the southern tip of Chile’s Patagonian region, indicating it had been fishing in the Southern Ocean.

人们怀疑该船非法捕鱼至少10年,但直到2016年10月,中国官员发现它试图卸载非法捕获的美露鳕鱼时,该船才首先引起国际关注。如今,这艘船名为多尔戈夫号,挂柬埔寨国旗,由一家在伯利兹注册的公司经营。一年前,它在智利巴塔哥尼亚(Patagonian)地区南端的蓬塔竞技场(Punta Arena)海岸被拍到,这表明它曾在南极海域捕鱼。 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

But before the Chinese authorities could take further action, the vessel and its crew fled across the Indian Ocean. This time, however, the vessel had been listed as IUU – illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This meant when the crew tried to enter the port again in Mauritius it was denied entry.

中国当局还没来得及采取行动,该船就横跨印度洋逃跑了。此时该船被列为IUU船只,IUU即非法、未上报、捕捞无规管(illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing)。因此,毛里求斯海关拒绝了该船再次靠岸的请求。

By January 2017 the vessel had been renamed the Sea Breez 1 under a Togo flag. Togo later struck the vessel off the registry, but as it moved from port to port, and the vessel changed name again to AYDA. When it arrived at ports, the crew presented forged documents to obscure its identity and it claimed a to belong to at least eight different flag states including Togo, Nigeria and Bolivia.

2017年1月,该船改挂多哥(Togo)国旗,并更名为海风一号(Sea Breez 1)。多哥后来取消了该船的注册,但该船几次入港后,又更名为AYDA号。每抵达一个港口,船长就会递交伪造好的文件以隐瞒真实身份。档案显示它曾悬挂过至少八个国家的国旗,包括多哥,尼日利亚和玻利维亚。

“It’s a common tactic,” says McDonnell. “They are essentially committing identity fraud by repeatedly falsifying their registry. Only flag states have jurisdiction over vessels when they are more than 200 miles from a coast, but these vessels claim flags of states that have no fisheries legislation to cover it and are not subject to any international fisheries treaties.”


Illegal fishing vessels also regularly change the flags they fly, claiming nationalities of states that have denounced them.


“Coastal states may consider them a high-risk vessel, without the protection of a flag state, and therefore stateless,” says McDonnell.


Finally, in February 2018, the authorities caught up with the Andrey Dolgov again at a port in Madagascar when the captain of a vessel claiming to be the STS-50 provided a false International Marine Organisation number – which every vessel on the ocean above a certain size must have – and forged documents. Madagascar alerted the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which regulates fishing in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.


Again, the boat and its crew fled, but this time they left a trail behind. The vessel had been fitted with an automatic transponder system, which is used to help prevent collisions between ships at sea. This automatic identification system, known as AIS, broadcasts a location signal that can be picked up by radio equipment and overhead satellites.

这一次,还是没能追到多尔戈夫号,但是他们也留下了线索。这艘船的船身装有自动应答器系统,是为了防止航行时两船相撞。这一自动应答系统(AIS,automatic identification system)会播报自身位置的信号,被无线电设备和空中卫星接收。

But there was a problem. When officials plugged the AIS identification number for the vessel into their system, they were presented with a spaghetti of tracks all over the world. Simultaneously the vessel appeared to be off the coast of the Falklands, Fiji and Norway – thousands of miles apart.


“They were obscuring their identity by spoofing their AIS,” explains Charles Kilgour, who at the time was senior fisheries analyst at OceanMind, a British non-profit organisation that analyses data from fishing vessels at sea. It was a technique that allowed the Andrey Dolgov to appear to be in almost 100 different locations at once.

海洋智慧(OceanMind)是英国一家海上渔船数据分析机构,该机构前高级渔业分析师切尔高(Charles Kilgour)解释说:“他们冒用了其他船只的AIS,以隐藏自身身份。”正是用了这样的手段,多尔戈夫号才得以同时出现在将近100个不同的地方。

The mission to catch Andrey Dolgov spanned the globe


But then its pursuers received another alert – the Andrey Dolgov had popped up just off the coast of Maputo, in Mozambique’s waters. An inspection team found fishing gear on board and forged registration documents. They officially “detained” the vessel, seizing its documents and the crew’s passports, but before they could investigate further, the Andrey Dolgov absconded, slipping through the fingers of the authorities again.


This time, however, Kilgour and his team had a positive identification of the exact time and location of the Andrey Dolgov. Using a passing satellite, they were able capture radar images of the fishing vessel while it was at anchorage off Maputo, helping them to clarify which of the AIS tracks they were seeing was the right one.


“We use algorithms to identify potential vessels from the synthetic aperture radar images,” says Kilgour, who now works for Global Fishing Watch, a Google-backed project to monitor fishing vessels around the world, but was speaking about his work with OceanMind. “Any large metal vessel shows up quite clearly. Then we correlate that with the AIS data we have.”

如今的切尔高就职于国际渔业监察(Global Fishing Watch),这是一家谷歌支持、监视全球渔船行踪的机构。他说:“现在,通过合成孔径雷达图像、并结合算法,我们能够知道某个区域附近是否有船只。大型金属船只都能显示的非常清楚。然后,我们会将雷达成像和已有的AIS数据匹配起来加以利用。”

The team at OceanMind also use infrared satellite imaging, which allows them to pick up lights from fishing vessels at night. With the additional information they now had, they were able to pinpoint which of the AIS tracks belonged to the Andrey Dolgov.

纽约时报中英文网 www.qqenglish.com


Meanwhile a vessel owned by marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd, which had been taking part in a joint operation in Tanzania with other African fishing authorities, took up the pursuit. Under the command of the Tanzanian navy, it chased the Andrey Dolgov for several days towards the Seychelles, sending back images of it from a drone, further helping to confirm its identity.

与此同时,海洋保护组织“海洋放牧者”(Sea Shepherd)的一艘船只,同非洲的政府渔业部门一道,开始在坦桑尼亚展开联合行动。在坦桑尼亚海军的指挥下,这艘船连续数日追赶多尔戈夫号,将其逼至了塞舌尔群岛。一架无人机传回此船的图像,确认了其身份。

“The fishing vessel left Mozambique’s waters to find refuge on the high seas,” says Peter Hammarstedt, director of campaigns at Sea Shepherd. “What was amazing was the Tanzanian authorities decided to leave their own waters to pursue it even though it hadn’t committed crime in Tanzania or entered its waters.”

“海洋放牧者”行动部主任哈玛斯特德(Peter Hammarstedt)说:“后来多尔戈夫号逃离莫桑比克海域,前往公海避难。令我们大吃一惊的是,虽然该船没有在坦桑尼亚犯罪,也没有进入其领海,坦桑尼亚政府还是决定前往公海追逐该船。”

Without the authority to board the vessel outside Tanzanian waters, however, they were eventually forced to give up the chase.

Kilgour and his team gave Interpol updates about the fleeing fishing boat’s position every four hours, using its speed and direction to calculate where it might be heading.


For most states, there is a reluctance to give chase and seize rogue vessels like this. The jurisdictional quagmire makes it tricky, but then there is also the expense of such a seizure. The vessels – often badly maintained – can be a pollution risk, they often need to be repaired, the catch on board needs to be disposed of safely and the crew need to be repatriated. Pests can be a problem on board and you must also post 24-hour security.


“Even developed countries are reluctant to do this,” says Bradley Soule, chief fisheries analyst at OceanMind. “So, it is hardly surprising that developing nations would rather not.”

海洋智慧首席渔业分析师索勒(Bradley Soule)说:“发达国家都不愿意揽这个活,发展中国家不情愿,也不足为奇。”

Fortunately, the Andrey Dolgov was heading towards one of the few nations that aggressively targets illegal fishing vessels. Indonesia, under the leadership of the country’s minister for maritime affairs and fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti, has seized and destroyed 488 illegal fishing vessels since 2014. Among those was another Antarctic toothfish poacher, the F/V Viking, which was the last of a notorious group of fishing vessels known as the Bandit Six, operating illegally in the Southern Ocean, thousands of miles from Indonesia’s waters.

幸运的是,印尼是少数几个严厉打击非法渔船的国家之一,也正好在多尔戈夫号前进的路线上。在海洋事务和渔业部长普吉亚斯图蒂(Susi Pudjiastuti)的领导下,印尼自2014年来已经查获并摧毁了488艘非法渔船。摧毁的渔船包括另一艘非法捕捞南极美露鳕的FV维京号,此举标志着在距离印尼水域数千英里的南极海域从事非法捕鱼活动的臭名昭著的“六强盗”渔船集团全部落网。

To make the point that illegal fishing would not be tolerated, no matter where it took place, Pudjiastuti had the F/V Viking spectacularly blown up on a sandbank off the shore of Pangandaran, West Java. With another notorious fish pirate heading into its waters, Pudjiastuti gave the Indonesian navy her endorsement to order an interception.


But as the vessel came into the busy Malacca straits, the satellite signal from its AIS transponder was lost among the mess of other signals in the area. Instead the Indonesian navy had to rely upon the calculations made using the information supplied by Kilgour and his team to estimate where the fishing boat might be. They dispatched the KRI Simeulue 2, a coastal patrol boat, to stop it.

但多尔戈夫号进入繁忙的马六甲海峡,AIS自动应答系统的卫星信号就混杂在其他信号中丢失了。印尼海军只好依靠切尔高团队提供的数学计算,估计其大致位置。他们派遣了海岸巡逻艇KRI 锡默卢二号(KRI Simeulue 2),去截停该船。

“The last 72 hours saw sleepless nights for everyone involved,” says Interpol’s McDonnell.


As the Andrey Dolgov came into range, however, the Simeulue 2 and land based coastguard stations began picking up its AIS signal, allowing them to home in on the rogue vessel. Once they had visually confirmed the identity, the Simeulue 2 raced alongside around 60 miles from the southeast side of Weh Island, Sebang, ordering the captain of the fishing vessel to stop so he could be boarded.

多尔戈夫号进入信号捕捉范围后,锡默卢二号及陆地上的海岸警卫队基站开始接收其AIS信号,重新定位该船。根据外形确认其身份后,锡默卢二号便从距世邦威岛(Weh Island,Sebang)东南方约60英里处出发,展开追逐,同时命令渔船船长停船,接受登船检查。

Once aboard, the naval officers found the captain and five other officers to be Russian and Ukranian. The rest of the crew consisted 20 Indonesians who later claimed they had no idea the vessel was fishing illegally. They were treated by the authorities as if were victims of human trafficking and slavery after being duped into working on board.


The captain, a Russian citizen named as Aleksandr Matveev, was later sentenced to four months in prison and fined Rp200 million (£10,800) after being found guilty of illegal fishing. The other Russian and Ukranian offers were deported to their home countries.

船长马特维耶夫(Aleksandr Matveev),俄罗斯国籍,因非法捕鱼罪被判入狱4个月,罚款2亿卢比(10,800英镑)。其他俄罗斯和乌克兰人被遣返回国。

“After the inspection, we discovered that F/V STS-50 violated Indonesian fisheries law,” says Pudjiastuti. “Illegal fishing is a public enemy and every state should provide assistance in terms of eliminating it.”


But the investigation has not stopped there. Specialised digital forensics teams have pored over the wealth of intelligence contained within the fishing vessel’s bridge, its on-board computer systems, navigational instruments and the captain’s mobile phone.


It is helping the international authorities piece together the wider criminal web that the vessel operated in. While the Andrey Dolgov was registered as belonging to Red Star Company Ltd, domiciled in Belize, the suspected owner is a Russian citizen who has an office in South Korea and has conducted several bank transactions in New York. The boat is thought to have links to Russian organised crime.

国际刑警也追根溯源,将更广泛的犯罪网络拼凑起来。虽然,多尔戈夫号注册于伯利兹红星公司(Red Star Company Ltd)名下,警方怀疑幕后操控者是俄罗斯人,且在韩国设有办事处。此外,此人可能还在纽约进行过几笔银行交易。这艘船和俄罗斯犯罪集团关系紧密。

Interpol are now helping law enforcement agencies in a number of countries to track down the criminals who operated the Andrey Dolgov, counterfeited its documents, helped to launder its catches and the money it made.


“The work doesn’t stop with the capture of the vessel,” says McDonnell. “There are still quite a lot of questions to be answered. These organisations are tightknit, often run within families or as a “dark” business disguised with legitimate companies. We are looking at how the criminals set their business models up, how they turn the fish into money. Until recently they have been able to operate with almost complete impunity. That is changing now.”


OceanMind too are developing new technology to help track down other vessels that try to hide or obscure their identity more easily. They will combine this with the artificial intelligence it uses to help identify vessels and determine whether the boats have permission to be operating in the areas where they are.


Others too are developing ways of combating illegal fishing. Katie St John Glew at Southampton, for example, is developing ways to use the chemical isotopes in fish to trace in which part of the ocean fish were caught. These isotope tracers come from the food the fish were feeding on before they were caught, and so could be used to identify products that are on sale but were caught illegally.


As for the Andrey Dolgov itself, it could soon play a role in catching the criminals like those who operated it. Rather than blow it up, Pudjiastuti decided to have the boat converted so it can join the Indonesian fisheries enforcement fleet. It will serve as a symbol of the country’s war on illegal fishing and as a message to the fish pirates – they are running out of places to hide.




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