Jan Erna is a Dutch-built trawler fishing out of Northern Ireland. Or, more accurately it, was fishing.
According to data provided by the European Commission the Jan Erna is something of a vampire vessel: scrapped not once but twice. And both times with a substantial EU grant.
The Commission’s data shows that the vessel owners were awarded an EU grant for modernisation worth €63,164.22 in October 1997. Two months later, they were awarded another EU grant for scrapping the Jan Erna, worth €255,654.75.
Several years later, in 2004 another EU grant was awarded for scrapping the Jan Erna, this time worth €167,883.21.
There are only two possible explanations. Either the European Commission’s data on fisheries subsidies is dodgy, which casts doubt over whether it is fully in control of EU funds; or, the grants were actually made as described in the data, which strongly suggests fraud. How can a vessel be scrapped twice?
Jan Erna on fishsubsidy.org
Photo from trawlerphotos.co.uk
The Luis Barranko was built in Santurce, Spain in 1997. Construction of the vessel was aided by an EU subsidy of €382,078.84. In the following years, the vessel owners received a further seven EU grants for vessel modernisation totalling €159,682.79.
In April 2010, according to the French maritime enforcement authorities, the Luis Barranko was part of a flotilla of 40-50 fishing vessels spotted in an area between 6 and 12 miles offshore on the Atlantic coast of the Basque country. The sardine breeding season is from March to the end of June and it is illegal for vessels to fish for sardines in these waters, though they are permitted to catch anchovy. When inspected by French enforcement officials, the Luis Barranko was found to have a tonne of sardines in its hold.
It’s not known whether a conviction was achieved, though French official in charge of the enforcement action said that the main objective was to send a political message to the Spanish government concerning the need for a better system for managing a sardine fishery that’s shared between France and Spain, rather than to punish the vessel owners economically.
Press reports: Sud Ouest EITB
Image from shipspotting.com
Luis Barranko on fishsubsidy.org
Charisma, the 159 tonne pelagic trawler pictured above, is an EU-subsided vessel that played a central role in a huge illegal fishing conspiracy, uncovered in the Shetland Isles, at the very north of Scotland.
Between them, thirteen skippers were found guilty of landing £47.5 million worth of herring and mackerel. David Hutchinson, skipper of the Charisma, was fined £40,000 for his part in the racket.
In court it was revealed that the true extent of the black fishing in Scotland from 2002 to 2005 was £62.8 million with hundreds of illegal landings at Shetland and Peterhead.
Judge Lord Turnbull said the 17 skippers had been involved in a “cynical and sophisticated” scheme to evade the EU fishing quota system.
At the same time as the Charisma was fishing illegally, it was being paid EU paid subsidies worth €49,296.62 for vessel modernisation. This money has not been repaid to the EU because the EU does not apply any kind of conditionality to its fish subsidy payments.
Image source: geograph.org.uk
News source: Shetland Times
Charisma on fishsubsidy.org
A member of the notorious Italian illegal drift net fleet, the Franchina was awarded an EU vessel modernisation grant of €30,720.00 in 2006. It had in 2002 received €23,522 under the EU-funded drift net conversion plan.
It was caught using illegal drift nets on four occasions on the following dates:
21 July 2005 - 4 km of nets
5 July 2006 - 3.7 km of nets
31 May 2007 - 7.4 km of nets
8 May 2007 - 2.5 km of nets
The vessels is based in the southern Italian port of Ponza (pictured below).
The criminal activity, abuse of EU funds and environmental destruction of the Italian drift net fleet is documented in the 2010 report lIlegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the European Union: The Case of Italian Illegal Driftnets (PDF download).
Also worth reading is the Oceana report Adrift! Swordfish and driftnets in the Mediterranean Sea (PDF download)
Franchina on fishsubsidy.org
The wooden gill netter Girl Patricia was one of six vessels involved in a complex and devious conspiracy known as the ‘Newlyn Black Fish Scam’.
The vessel, built in 1969, had received EU modernisation grants worth €12,053.89.
The owners and skippers of six Newlyn fishing vessels who deliberately over-fished protected fish stocks for financial gain and an auctioneer who sold their fish were ordered to pay a total of £188,450 in fines and costs by a judge at Truro Crown Court on January 6th 2009. Arthur Williams, 47, and 72-year-old Leonard Williams, owners of the Girl Patricia and both living in Newlyn, were each fined £9,000 with £7,018 costs.
Reporting for the Daily Telegraph on the Newlyn Black Fish Scam, Charles Clover wrote
Six owners and skippers of fishing boats and the auctioneer who sold their fish in Newlyn, Cornwall, were sentenced on Tuesday for systematically falsifying paperwork in order to disguise the sale of illegally landed cod, hake and monkfish as species such as turbot, brill and bass, which could be landed legally.
The 114 specimen charges on which they were convicted, in the largest case of its kind, and for which they were ordered to pay around £190,000 in fines and costs, related only to a six-month period in 2002.
There is every reason to conclude from the evidence assembled by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that systematic fiddling had been going on in Newlyn for years.
Seven months before the trial, on the afternoon of 29 May 2008, the Girl Patricia started taking on water and sank, some 28 nautical miles north west of Land’s End. Its skipper and three crew members took to the sea and swam the 100 metres to the Ben My Chree, a vessel that had responded to the Girl Patricia’s earlier distress calls. The men were understood to be cold, shocked and tired but otherwise unscathed.
Photo by valhalla on trawlerphotos.co.uk
Girl Patricia on fishsubsidy.org
Built in 1999 with a generous EU construction grant of €840,741.60 and aided with a further EU grant for modernisation, the 236 tonne Spanish trawler Siempre Maite was caught in September 2006, according to press reports, 90 miles west of the Breton port of Lorient using a mesh size smaller than the 5mm minimum permitted and use of illegal gear.
A small mesh size means that juvenile fish are caught. Its two tonne catch of hake and monkfish was confiscated and sold at auction.
The skipper was required to post a bail bond of €10,000 to release the vessel pending future prosecution. A trial date was set for 8 March 2007. It’s not known whether the skipper was convicted or what punishment was eventually applied. Official on prosecutions is very difficult to obtain.
Photo © Jacklor at ShipSpotting.com
El pesquero ‘Siempre Maite’, apresado en Francia por usar redes ilegales El Diario Montañés 29/9/2006
Le patron espagnol sera jugé aujourd’hui, Ouest-France, 28/9/2006
Siempre Maite on fishsubsidy.org
A colourful case for the first Catch of the Day. This 25 metre, 157 tonne trawler was built in Luarca in 1998 with help of an EU grant of €609,588.46 and an unknown amount of matching funds from the Spanish national budget.
The following year another EU grant of €22,387.03 helped pay for modernisation of the vessel.
In 2002 the trawler was twice apprehended by the French coastguard and irregularities in the logbook were found. In December 2003 the vessel was found in Galician waters with three tonnes of Venezuelan cocaine on board. This led to the arrest of six crew members, though the owner was absolved of responsibility.
In November 2004 the vessel was again captured by the French coastguard and prosecuted for a range of offenses including attempting to flee when apprehended, use of illegal nets, failure to record 2250 kg of monkfish (pictured, above) hidden on board and other logbook irregularities. Juan Carlos Calvo Rey, the vessel’s owner and skipper, was fined €30,000.