Coast Guard seizes 'pirate vessel'

Oct. 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM

KODIAK, Alaska, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Coast Guard seized a rat infested high seas fishing boat containing illegal drift nets, a government agency said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seized the ship containing more than 10 miles of drift nets about 2,600 southwest of Kodiak, Alaska.

When seized Sept. 15, the boat was also dragging more than 2 miles of driftnet. NOAA says the technique of high seas drift netting is condemned worldwide and the United Nations has formally prohibited it because of its wholesale killing of marine life and fish, the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

Under U.S. law, if no one claims ownership of the boat NOAA may dispose of it.

"This legal process needs to run its course before any decision regarding disposition of the vessel or catch can be made," NOAA said in a statement.

Last week when the 140-foot Bangun Perkasa was cleared to dock in Dutch Harbor, a contractor unsuccessfully tried to wipe out the rats infesting the vessel, which the Coast Guard and NOAA consider stateless.

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska said this month he wanted the "pirate fishing vessel" sunk because of the hazard from the rats which he questioned could be eradicated.

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