The Damanzaihao, a controversial piece of China Fishery Group’s fleet, is detained in Peru

The Damanzaihao, the world’s largest fishing factory vessel, has been detained in a Peruvian port on charges it polluted the marine environment and engaged in illegal fishing.

The Belize-flagged ship is owned by Sustainable Fishing Resources, a subsidiary of the massive seafood conglomerate China Fishery Group, which filed for bankruptcy in the United States on 30 June, 2016.

Authorities from the Peruvian port of Chimbote arrested the vessel on 26 May after receiving an anonymous tip regarding the ship’s illegal activities, which include illegal fishing practices and polluting the marine environment through the illegal discharge of fluids and effluents while anchored in Chimbote, according to the Sea Shepherd, an activist group that has tracked and investigated the Damanzaihao. 

The Damanzaihao was scheduled to leave port at 10 p.m. on 26 May bound for Dalian, China, but before it could depart, agents from the Peruvian Environmental Prosecutor’s Office boarded the vessel and conducted an inspection. At the same time, acting on a formal request filed by the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office ordered the vessel detained pending further investigation.   

El Comercio reported the Damanzaihao still owes PEN 23 million (USD 7 million, EUR 6 million) in fines previously imposed in 2016 for several carrying out fishing activities without proper authorization, extracting unauthorized resources, and transferring fishing without prior authorization before reaching port. 

The ship, originally designed as a deadweight oil tanker, has the technical capacity to process 547,000 metric tons of fish per year.

The Damanzaihao is one of three vessels owned by the China Fishery Group that has been cleared for sale by U.S. District Court Judge James Garrity, who is presiding over the company’s bankruptcy proceedings in New York City. On 16 April, Garrity granted a request from the court-appointed trustee, William J. Brandt, who is directing the sale of the company’s assets, to sell the Damanzaihao for USD 11.2 million (EUR 9.6 million) and the Enterprise and Pacific Champion for a combined USD 6.8 million (EUR 5.8 million).

The buyer is DVS-R is, a Singapore-based firm controlled by the Russian fishing tycoon Dmitrii Dremliuga. According to court documents, Dremliuga is also interested in buying other China Fishery assets in Peru, which Brandt sought to auction off in December 2017 but has had difficulty selling.

The Damanzaihao’s arrest will not have an impact on its pending sale, El Comercio reported.


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