Above: One of Sea Shepherd’s vessels limping through the tortured waters of the Southern Ocean somewhere south of Cape Town, South Africa. Screenshot: Animal Planet/Sea Shepherd Global, Selase Kove-Seyram for The New York Times.
The last segment of The New York Times’ “The Outlaw Ocean” series came out this week. This fourth and final installment, titled “A Renegade Trawler Hunted for 10,000 Miles by Vigilantes,” details the story of two Sea Shepherd ships which tailed one of the world’s most wanted illegal fishing vessels for over 10,000 miles – because not one national government or international maritime organization would bother to pursue the rogue vessel.
Over 111 days, the Bob Barker and the Sam Simon, vessels named after the T.V. game show host and “The Simpsons” creator (both investors)–followed the Nigerian-registered, Norwegian-built seine netter Thunder through the “furious fifties” and the “roaring forties,” latitudes where winds and waves are almost continuously in excess of 40 knots and 40 feet.
A Patagonian toothfish, or Chilean sea bass from one of The Thunder’s 45-mile-long illegal nets which Sea Shepherd seized. (Ed’s note: Sea Shepherd’s seizure of the net was illegal, according to some maritime lawyers, but chances of prosecution are very low in the wake of The Thunder’s illegal activities.) Photo: Jeff Wirth/Sea Shepherd Global.