ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The U.S. Coast Guard says it has awarded a Dutch Harbor firm a contract to cleanse and repair a rat-infested fishing vessel seized 2,600 miles southwest of Kodiak last month on suspicion of illegal fishing.
Magone Marine will tow the Bangun Perkasa out to sea from Dutch Harbor, using live traps and anti-coagulant agents aboard to remove the rats while making repairs to prevent the vessel from becoming a threat to the environment of the Aleutian Islands. In addition, refrigeration will be maintained to preserve the ship’s cargo of 30 tons of squid.
The Coast Guard seized the Bangun Perkasa on Sept. 15, detaining its crew of 22 in Anchorage after illegal driftnets and at least 30 shark carcasses were found aboard. The crew was questioned in Anchorage and will be deported back to China and Taiwan.Sen. Mark Begich issued a statement Tuesday calling for the vessel to be towed out to sea and sunk by gunfire, saying it would serve as both a warning that the U.S. won’t tolerate illegal fishing and an opportunity to demonstrate the firepower of the Coast Guard’s new National Security Cutters. He also said he was concerned that rat-mitigation efforts aboard the ship might not be totally effective.
The Coast Guard says Magone Marine’s work on the Bangun Perkasa will take an estimated seven to 10 days.