Ship sanctioned by US being probed

FLAG OF CONVENIENCE: The Fisheries Agency said it has limited oversight over ships registered in a foreign country, but critics say they should do more to protect workers

Taipei Times
Date:  Aug 22, 2020
By: Staff Writer, with CNA

In this March 31, 2016 file photo, fishermen and buyers gather at a tuna auction at Donggang fishery port in Taiwan. The United States is halting imports from a Taiwan-based fishing vessel that reportedly has supplied the global tuna trading company that acquired Bumble Bee Seafoods this year.
Photo: AP

The Fisheries Agency yesterday said it had previously referred a Taiwan-owned distant-sea fishing vessel, the Da Wang (大旺), to prosecutors for investigation, after the US this week halted imports from the ship based on credible reports of abusive conditions and the use of forced labor.

The statement came after the US Customs and Border Patrol on Tuesday issued an order banning shipments from the Vanuatu-flagged, Taiwan-owned vessel in all US ports, based on information that indicated that there was “the use of forced labor, including physical violence, debt bondage, withholding of wages, and abusive living and working conditions” on the ship.

The order followed reports by Greenpeace East Asia on abuses in Taiwan’s distant-water fleet, the second-largest in the world after China’s, the Associated Press reported.

Greenpeace interviewed several Indonesian fishers who said they had been forced to work up to 22 hours per day, had their wages withheld and were subject to beatings and threats while working aboard the Da Wang, the article said.    [FULL  STORY]

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