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Montevideo, December 18th 2018 - 22:00 UTC

Suspect longliner escorted into Stanley harbour.

Monday, March 7th 2005 - 21:00 UTC
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The longliner “Elqui” is being investigated by South Georgia Fisheries officials on suspicion of toothfish poaching.

The vessel was escorted into Stanley harbour, Falkland Islands Monday morning by fisheries patrol vessels, "Sigma" and "Dorada", and is currently berthed alongside the town's floating dock facility, FIPASS.

South Georgia director of Fisheries, Harriet Hall, would only comment today that, "She was brought into Stanley following a boarding in South Georgia waters. An investigation is currently ongoing."

Ms. Hall was unable to put a timescale on the investigations currently underway. If they were to culminate in prosecution, hearings would take place in Stanley, where the South Georgia courts are officially located.

The South Georgia toothfish season does not begin until May 1st, so there are no vessels currently licenced to be fishing in the zone.

"Elqui" was spotted by the crew of two cruise ships, Explorer II and Grigoriy Mikheev ? while the latter was carrying the Commissioner of South Georgia and Falkland Islands Governor, Mr Howard Pearce.

Precise details of her current ownership and flag nation are not quite clear. Although she has at some point been flagged in Uruguay under the name "Elqui" ? which is also on the vessel's stern ? the ship's life preserver rings also bear the word "Conakry" ? capital of the West African state of Guinea.

The Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO) says on its website that the vessel was last seen in April 2004 in Cape Town, where she had been working under a Uruguayan flag and held a high seas fishing licence.

Sue Gyford (MP) Stanley

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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