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Thai Navy seize IUU boat off Phuket

Thai Navy seize IUU boat off Phuket

PHUKET: An illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) boat with eight Thais on board has been seized in Thai waters off Phuket, Vice Admiral Ronnapop Karnjanapan of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command announced yesterday (Sept 15).

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Monday 16 September 2019, 12:37PM

V/Adm Ronnapop, who also serves as the Director of Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Center (Thai-MECC), announced the seizure at press conference held at the Third Area Command at Cape Panwa.

Also present for the announcement were Sakorn Poodam of the Phuket Marine Office and Wichit Police Chief Col Nikorn Somsuk.

V/Adm Ronnapop explained that a boat was reported as entering Thai waters last Thursday (Sept 12), but the Phuket Marine Office had not been informed of the boat’s arrival and its Automatic Identification System (AIS), as required by Thai law, was turned off, leaving Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC) officers unable to identify it.

Thai-MECC ordered the Third Naval Area Command to inform relevant officers to follow the suspected boat, V/Adm Ronnapop said.

On Friday (Sept 13), the boat turned on its AIS, allowing officers at the Phuket Port in-Port out Control Center (PIPO) to identify it as the “Uthaiwan”.

“At 9:45pm, FMC officer informed Thai-MECC to follow the suspected boat which was previously named ‘Wisdom Sea Reefer’, but on the AIS the boat was under the name ‘Uthaiwan’,” V/Adm Ronnapop explained.

“On Sept 14 (Saturday), at 1:30am, Thai-MECC and relevant official together seized the suspected boat, which was a 3,000 gross tonnage fishing boat from Cameroon, as shown in the AIS, the boat was seven miles off Phuket shore,” he said.

According to, the Wisdom Sea Reefer measures 102 metres long and 14m across. It was registered in 1977 and was last officially registered in Cameroon.

The AIS-tracking site also marks the boat as now stationary at Phuket Deep Sea Port.

Navy and relevant officers together examined the boat – all eight people on the boat were arrested, all eight were Thai, V/Adm Ronnapop said.

He added that the international illegal fishing monitoring organisation OceanMind had informed the Marine Department that the suspected boat was declared as an IUU vessel by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).


The boat set sail from Cambodia on Sept 2 and passed through the Strait of Malacca, the organisation reported.

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The eight Thais on board were all charged under Section 94 of the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries B.E.2558 (2015), which stipulates that no person shall bring a non-Thai fishing vessel that has undertaken IUU fishing into the Kingdom.

“The Navy has move the boat to the Phuket Deep Sea Port,” V/Adm Ronnapop said.

However, the report failed to name the persons arrested, and failed to confirm whether any fish or other sea catch was already on board at the time the boat was seized.

In 2015, the illegal Antarctic fishing trawler Kunlun, previously registered as the Taishan, somehow managed to flee Phuket after being seized and impounded at the Phuket Deep Sea Port.

A haul of 182 tons of Patagonian toothfish, known in Thailand as “snow fish” and known elsewhere as Chilean seabass, was seized as the captain had illegally reported the haul as grouper.

The fish were reportedly caught in a protected area of Antarctic sea waters. (See stories here.)

No authorities involved in the seizure were willing to comment on what happened with the captain and crew who were allegedly arrested.

Phuket Marine Office Chief at the time, Phuriphat Teerakulpisut, was unavailable for comment.

Phuket Customs officials also declined to comment on the missing ship and its crew. (See stories here and here.)



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Kurt | 21 September 2019 - 16:56:23

Wisdom Sea Reefer,  ships name as reported by AIS: Uthaiwan. 
AIS vessel type: cargo ( to attention V/Adm).
Draught at Phuket deep water port: 3.5 metres ( empty, in ballast).
IMO: 7637527. 
MMSI: 613003586
Call sign: TJMC52
Flag: Cameroon.
Owners: Thai firm.
Crew: Thai crew.

Capt B | 21 September 2019 - 16:00:53

,,,,,,Thai Government Department taking advice off a Non-Government, Not For Profit bunch of Parasites who live off donations.
Maybe I'll go back into the Salvage business, after all, I already carried out the deepest, most successful manned archaeological cargo salvage in history. Compliance, Compliance, Compliance. 

Capt B | 21 September 2019 - 15:45:18

,,"Operator (previous operators)" are listed as "CLAUDIO E RAMOS-CERRATO-VIRGIN FISHING COMPANY-MYO THANT-Master." Date included on IOTC IUU Vessels List: May 2018. Well then, we all know what a VIRGIN's never been ? It looks like the unsuspecting new Thai owner, probably well prior to May 2018 has now been well & truly subject to what a VIRGIN's never been due to a...

Capt B | 21 September 2019 - 15:29:35

As a Fisherman, who has always gone out of his way to comply with Govt. Fishing Regulations, I have a good opinion of the IOTC, however, sometimes their information on Vessel Flag/Ownership changes etc is not always up to date. For example, on the  IOTC IUU VESSELS LIST (JUNE2019), the "Current flag (previous flags)" of No.4, WISDOM SEA REEFER is listed as HONDURAS & the,,,,,,

Kurt | 21 September 2019 - 13:37:11

Now we all are still waiting for the next press conference of the thai V/Adm. , on which he is going to say that is was all a 'misunderstanding'.

DeKaaskopp | 20 September 2019 - 19:23:48

Thanks Captain,probably the most comprehensive explanation ever made on here! I fell asleep immediately afterwards.

Capt B | 20 September 2019 - 14:59:52

,,,, the vessel's owner compensated for their downtime losses.

Capt B | 20 September 2019 - 14:56:04

,,,Further more, the "Wisdom Sea Reefer" was not entered into the IOTC IUU VESSELS LIST JUNE 2019 until MAY 2018 & the owners are listed as Wisdom Sea Reefer Line S.A., Not Chainavec Cold Storage-Samut Sakhon , Thailand. A new owner, a new flag, on final voyage for scrapping in Bangladesh. Definitely NOT GUILTY OF THE ALLEGED OFFENCES OF IUU FISHING. The crew should be released &...

Capt B | 20 September 2019 - 14:38:40

As the Vessel was not on the IOTC IUU VESSELS LIST MAY 2015, which was prior to the "Royal Ordinance On Fisheries BE 2558 (2015) enactment & as the Vessel was on its final voyage to a Shipbreakers for Scapping they should be deemed to be NOT GUILTY in a Maritime Court Of Law.,,,

Capt B | 20 September 2019 - 14:29:25

"Fishing" means to search, attract, catch, take or harvest fish or any activity which can reasonably be expected to result in the attracting, catching, taking or harvesting of fish at a fishing ground.

Capt B | 20 September 2019 - 14:21:10

,,,new IOTC requirements regarding vessels involved in Transshipment of product. Thailand had just been informed. After looking at the IOTC IUU VESSELS LIST (MAY2015), the vessel names "Wisdom Sea Reefer" & "Uthaiwan" were not on the "LIST". Under the Update: Royal Ordinance on Fisheries (No.2) BE 2017-"Royal Ordinance on Fisheries BE 2558 (2015)., "Fish...

Capt B | 20 September 2019 - 14:05:13

Intermittently, since 1978, I had worked on vessels operating in the Pelagic Tuna & Billfish Longline Fishery, as a Captain, Fishing Master, Chief Engineer, 2nd Engineer, Bosun & Decky where a VMS (Vessel Monitoring System) & filling out a detailed Fishing Logbook was carried out on a daily basis. In Nov 2017, I attended the 1st ASEAN Seafood Expo in Bangkok where all were informed of ...

Kurt | 19 September 2019 - 11:10:25

It is remarkable that always the highest thai generals/admirals/Colonels show up at press conferences for a moment of 'public fame' instead of sending their spokesman. Talking about 'job-inflation'.
Now the V/Adm must held a new press conference to say he was wrong about 'fishing vessel'. Better let a spokesman loose face rather than yourself as a Admiral.

Capt B | 18 September 2019 - 03:31:51

Have a look at OneOcean's 3rd World European Website. It is a Not For Profit Non-Government outfit, probably a remnant of Greenpeace who are parasites & live off donations. Surely the Thai Government are not taking advice off those Turkeys. GREENS COST JOBS !

Capt B | 18 September 2019 - 03:19:43

The vessel had never undertaken IUU  Fishing as it is not a Fishing Vessel. The only thing they have done wrong if failing to turn on their AIS within 12 NM of the coast which is Phuket Marine Department requirement, not a Fisheries requirement. If the Thai Government seizes the vessel, it will become a Phoenix MK II. 

Capt B | 18 September 2019 - 03:02:06

The Phuket Maritime Circus Continues. I hope all of these anti IUU Fishing Turkeys attended the 6th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop in Bangkok-9 July 2019. It is not a Fishing Vessel. It is a Reefer Carrier. The crew are not Fishermen, they are Merchant Seamen. At the time, the vessel was on rout to a Scrap Yard / Shipbreakers in Bangladesh. 

Kurt | 16 September 2019 - 15:46:32

Nothing, illegal, unregulated with registered Uthaiwan.
Vessel built in NL, 1977. Imo Nr: 7637527.  Now under Cameroon flag. Owner and manager: Chainavec Cold Storage-Samut Sakhon, Thailand. Last AIS report on 14 Sept at 03:18 UTC, after dropping anchor in Phuket waters. 

Kurt | 16 September 2019 - 13:41:19

The 8 thai crew members must be flabbergasted to be accused/arrested of illegal fishing. One can not fish with this vessel. Well, it was about time for a funny 'fishing' matter again after the misty fishing trawler Kunlun happening that was able to disappear under the eyes of Thai navy officials while sitting behind their desks.

Kurt | 16 September 2019 - 13:15:33

The photos not showing a fishing vessel. It is a empty ( perhaps partly refrigerated ?) cargo vessel with just enough water in ballast tanks to keep rudder mainly below water line.


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