Pursuit of Viarsa 1 continues

Aug 21, 2003
Author: P&S

The pursuit of the Uruguayan-flagged long line fishing vessel Viarsa 1, which is suspected of having a full cargo of poached Patagonian Toothfish on board, goes into its second week with the Australian fisheries patrol ship Southern Supporter holding station just north of the loose ice pack among which Viarsa 1 is attempting to hide.

Earlier reports that Viarsa 1, was snagged in the ice are not correct but the fleeing ship has to navigate among the ice and has slowed down considerably.

Meanwhile South African authorities have given their Antarctic supply vessel SA Agulhas the all clear to assist in arresting the fishing vessel. SA Agulhas has discharged its cargo of building material at Marion Island and is now proceeding westwards towards the other two ships, which were reported yesterday as being approximately 1,350 nautical miles southeast of Cape Town.

Should Viarsa 1 remain within the ice the ice-strengthened South African vessel is capable of following. If however Viarsa 1 manages to avoid interception and continues further westwards she faces further interception by the patrol boat Dorada, which is also ice strengthened.

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