24 May 2015

Illegal fishing boats found in Cape Verde

7:51 am on 24 May 2015

Two of the illegal fishing vessels chased by the Royal New Zealand Navy in January have been boarded by authorities in Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa.

The Yongding was intercepted to the west of the Ross Sea.

Three ships - Kunlun, Songhua and Yongding - were intercepted by the navy in January. Photo: NZ DEFENCE FORCE

In the summer, offshore patrol ship HMNZS Wellington discovered three fishing vessels poaching toothfish in the Southern Ocean.

Two of the boats, Songhua and Yongding, have been found in the waters of the Cape Verde archipelago, albeit renamed and reflagged.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said shutting down illegal fishing was not a straightforward process.

He said the Government was working with other countries and Interpol to put a stop to it and protect the Southern Ocean.

The third ship pursued by the navy was detained in Thailand in March.