Abuse claim trawler allowed to leave – Fishupdate.com

Abuse claim trawler allowed to leave Published:  20 October, 2011

A KOREAN fishing vessel at the centre of crew abuse claims has been allowed to leave New Zealand more than two months after she was arrested.

But five officers from Oyang 75 have been charged with several quota and other fishing offences and will appear in court in November.

It was back in July when around 30 Indonesian crew members left the Korean-registered fishing  ‘Oyang 75’  alleging beatings, sexual harassment and inadequate pay. The incident sparked off a debate in New Zealand about the general treatment of Asian crewmen on Korean trawlers and over what should happen to the men who walked off the ship. The New Zealand authorities had suggested they might be deported, but this was later withdrawn. Six of the fishermen are still in New Zealand.

The owners of the ‘Oyang 75’  strenuously denied the abuse allegations and said they had paid the fishermen their rightful wages. They also promised to  co-operate with country’s Labour Department investigation and a forthcoming ministerial inquiry into the whole issue of the treatment of foreign fishing crews.

Andrew Coleman, New Zealand’s Deputy Director General Compliance and Response, said while the Oyang 75 had been in port the Ministry had investigated the alleged discarding of fish by the vessel and other serious fisheries offences.

He said the New Zealand Quota Management System made it a legal requirement for all commercial fishing vessels to land their catch to a New Zealand Licensed Fish Receiver. The catch also had to be accurately reported and counted against the available quota.