Rat eradication is continuing on a stateless fishing vessel

A private contractor is continuing eradication of rats in waters off of Dutch Harbor on a stateless fishing vessel seized by the U.S.Coast Guard in the North Pacific Ocean. The Bangun Perkasa must be determined to be rat-free for 48 hours before it can be hauled into port at Dutch Harbor by the Coast Guard and turned over to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement. NOAA officials said Oct. 12 that they had determined the 22 crewmembers were from Indonesia, China and Vietnam. The crew was brought into Anchorage for questioning but it was unclear whether they have been returned yet to theircountries of origin.

The vessel owner has 30 days to come forward to claim the ship. NOAA officials, who are the final authority on what to do with the vessel and seafood on board, said NOAA must wait until the USCG turns it over to us once it comes to port. Once that happens, a survey will be done to determine what value the vessel has, and only then will a determination be made as to its disposition.

The Bangun Perkasa was seized some 2,600 miles southwest of Kodiak, after the Coast Guard was notified of its presence by the FisheriesAgency of Japan. Coast Guard officials said the crew reportedly abandoned their fishing nets and attempted to leave the area after being spotted by the helicopter. The vessel had more than 10 miles of drift net on board, plus an abundance of squid and shark carcasses.