The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has published a report, along with an online documentary, exposing human rights violations and serious illegal fishing practices taking place on the Taiwanese fishing vessel Fuh Sheng No.11.
Registered in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, Fuh Sheng No. 11 achieved notoriety as the first vessel ever detained for allegedly violating the International Labour Organization’s Work in Fishing Convention C188 in Cape Town, South Africa, in May this year, the Taiwan Apple Daily reported.
Then in August EJF investigators boarded the vessel, where Indonesian fishermen recounted their sufferings.
The crew members said they received constant physical abuse from the captain, were forced to work 22-hour shifts, and made to work even if they were injured.
The men were working in dangerous conditions with virtually no safety measures or equipment in place. All they had by way of “protection” was a plastic raincoat.
According to one man, their salaries were below the Taiwanese minimum wage. When they were supposed to be paid a monthly salary of US$300, deductions were common, leaving them with as little as only $50.
The video also included incidences of hammerhead sharks being illegally finned.
Director Lin Kuo-Ping Lin of the Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency commented on Saturday that they would conduct an investigation about the allegations facing the boat, which returned to port on September 13. The seven existing crew members from Vietnam and Myanmar would be approached for assistance in investigations of worker exploitation and illegal fishing activities.
If the captain is found to have abused his crew, he could be fined between NT$50,000 and NT$250,000 (US$1,622 and $8,108), as well as having his fishing license revoked for up to a year, according to the Act for Distant Water Fisheries.