Sea Shepherd Ship Intercepts Trawler as it Attempts to Flee Detention in Liberia

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26 March 2018

A Guinean-flagged fishing trawler detained and under investigation by Liberian law enforcement authorities was arrested by the Liberian Coast Guard, with assistance from Sea Shepherd, as it attempted to evade justice by fleeing detention on March 15th, 2018.

Taking advantage of a national holiday in Liberia, the F/V Benty 1 endeavored to slip away under the radar of authorities and make a break for international waters.

A Liberian Coast Guard Boarding team on board the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Sam Simon intercepted the F/V Benty 1 just 7 nautical miles from the border between Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone.

Investigators discovered the F/V Benty 1 to be in poor condition, with water entering through the shaft propeller requiring bilges to be pumped out once an hour.

On boarding, the F/V Benty 1 feigned mechanical failure and was thus towed back to the Port of Monrovia where it was remanded in custody.

About Operation Sola Stella

Since February 2017, under the name Operation Sola Stella, Sea Shepherd has been assisting the Government of Liberia to tackle IUU fishing by providing the use of a civilian offshore patrol vessel operating in Liberian waters, under the direction of the Liberian Ministry of National Defense. Operation Sola Stella has resulted in the arrest of eleven vessels for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing, which accounts for up to 40% of the fish caught in West African waters.

In 2016 Sea Shepherd partnered with the government of Gabon for Operation Albacore, resulting in over 80 fishing vessel inspections at sea and the subsequent arrest of five IUU Congolese fishing trawlers and one Spanish long-liner.

In 2018, Sea Shepherd began Operation Jodari with patrols against IUU fishing in the waters of Tanzania in partnership with the Tanzanian Deep Sea Fishing Authority, Tanzanian Navy, Tanzanian Drug Enforcement Agency, the Multi-Agency Task Team (MATT) and Fish-i Africa.

Operation Sola Stella is a continuation of Sea Shepherd Global’s commitment to work actively with national governments and their Law Enforcement Agencies in the fight against IUU fishing.


Hi-Res images (media footage reel and more images available on request): 

Photo captions (all images credit to Katie Mähler/Sea Shepherd):

R0A356: F/V Benty 1 intercepted by the M/Y Sam Simon

R0A0468: Liberian Coast Guard inspect the holds of the F/V Benty 1

R0A0367: The Liberian Coast Guard board the F/V Benty 1

R0A0383: The Liberian Coast Guard inspect the F/V Benty 1 before putting the vessel under arrest

R0A0494: The Liberian Coast Guard secure the F/V Benty 1

R0A1075: The M/Y Sam Simon brings the F/V Benty 1 under tow

For further information, additional images and interview requests, contact: 
Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global Media Director 
Tel: +339 7719 7742

Sea Shepherd Global

Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit marine conservation movement using innovative tactics and direct action to defend, conserve and protect the worlds oceans and marine wildlife. Founded by Paul Watson in 1977, today Sea Shepherd is a worldwide movement with independent national and regional entities in over 20 countries, united by a common mission and a fleet of eleven ships on campaigns around the world. Sea Shepherd investigates and documents violations of international and national conservation law, and enforces conservation measures where legal authority exists. For more information, visit: