The boarding of the Chinese-flagged fishing vessel Run Da in international waters 860 miles east of Hokkaido, Japan, was the result of a joint international effort of the US Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley crew homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, and the People’s Republic of China Coast Guard.
According to Capt. Darran McLenon, chief of response for the 17th Coast Guard District, detention of the Run Da was “the first apprehension of a large-scale, high seas driftnet vessel since 2014 and highlights the successful fisheries enforcement cooperation and patrols of the US, Canada, China, Japan, Russia and the Republic of Korea, including the force multiplying value of shiprider agreements, which enables joint high seas boarding and inspections to detect and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”
The Run Da is suspected of violating the worldwide driftnet moratorium called for by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/215, which calls for full implementation of a global moratorium on all large-scale pelagic driftnet fishing on the high seas. US Coast Guard officials said the captain of the Run Da admitted to fishing with driftnets up to 5.6 miles in length.
Custody of the Run Da and its crew were transferred to PRC Coast Guard vessel 2301 in the Sea of Japan some 92 miles west of Japan, for escort to China to face prosecution. The PRC has jurisdiction for any enforcement actions taken on the vessel, master and owner.
Resolution 46/215, approved on December 20, 1991, established boarding procedures for law enforcement officials of either country to board and inspect US or Chinese-flagged vessels suspected of high seas driftnet fishing. The memorandum of understanding also established a shiprider program that allows Chinese fisheries enforcement officials to embark on US Coast Guard vessels or aircraft.