13th March 2015: Spanish Ministry storms Vidal Shipowners offices on suspect of pirate links

Shipowners Vidal, the Galician company, questioned on Wednesday for hours in Ribeira (A Coruña) as part of Operation Sparrow, who investigates companies based in A Coruña on suspicion of links with vessels included in the list of illegal fishing in the Convention for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources in the Antarctic (CCAMLR), and was sentenced in recent years up to 7 times for these practices after receiving a total of 11 complaints.

Inspectors and police, within which were formerly offices Shipowners Ribeira Vidal.


As part of Operation Sparrow, starting months ago, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has inspected the headquarters of several companies located in the province of A Coruña, among which is Vidal Owners, for their alleged links with vessels included in the list of illegal fishing.

In this operation, the fish inspection services are examining “numerous physical and electronic documentation” of these companies, which will continue over the coming days.

The fish inspection services have conducted research in close collaboration with allies in the fight against illegal fishing, such as New Zealand and supported by international bodies such as the European Commission, CCAMLR or Interpol, in order to gather evidence evidencing the alleged links.

Thus, the Ministry emphasizes that “this is an unprecedented operation” in the EU and that “puts Spain, more, if possible, leading the fight against illegal fishing at international level.”

According to the reform of the Sea Fisheries Act very serious infringements may be penalized with fines of up to 600,000 euros, as well as disqualification of fishing activities.

Among the serious violations include “participation in the operation, management and ownership of stateless vessels or third country vessels identified by regional fisheries management organizations or other international organizations, for having engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated or contrary to conservation measures and management of fisheries resources. ”

-taken and translated from elEconomista.es