Vessel formerly wanted by Interpol to be used in fisheries enforcement

Andrey Dolgov and its crew shortly after being apprehended by the Indonesian Navy Image: Getty Images Andrey Dolgov and its crew shortly after being apprehended by the Indonesian Navy

A longliner that had repeatedly engaged in illegal fishing and that had managed to elude international authorities for over 10 years is expected to soon join the Indonesian government’s fleet of fisheries enforcement vessels.

On the orders of Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s minister for maritime affairs and fisheries, the 1985-built Andrey Dolgov is currently undergoing conversion to enable it to conduct patrols to deter illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing in the country’s waters.

It is one of the rare instances that Indonesia, which is known for its aggressive stance against IUU fishing, will maintain and re-purpose a captured illegal fishing vessel.

Nearly all of the more than 480 illegal fishing vessels that the country’s government has seized since 2014 were later destroyed.

However, rather than subject Andrey Dolgov to the same fate as its predecessors to lower the risk that it would once again fall into the hands of unscrupulous operators, the government decided to refurbish and then use the vessel to help prevent illegal fishing activities similar to those that its crew had committed in the more than 10 years that they eluded capture.

Andrey Dolgov had become one of Interpol’s most wanted ships after numerous reports surfaced about its illegal fishing operations in the Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans and its retreating to the relative safety of international waters whenever the risk of capture was high.

The vessel and its crew, which consisted of six Russian and Ukrainian officers and 20 Indonesian sailors, were finally captured in the Malacca Straits by the Indonesian Navy on April 6, 2018.

Andrey Dolgov is said to have caught an estimated US$50 million worth of fish in the more than 10 years that it operated illegally.

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