On the 23rd of February 2012, almost three years since its arrest, the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania delivered a guilty verdict in the case of the fishing vessel Tawariq 1.
The Court ordered the vessel to be forfeited to the Government. The Captain of the fishing vessel and the ship’s agent were found guilty of fishing without a licence in the Tanzanian EEZ and were sentenced to pay 1 billion Tanzanian shillings each (USD 625,975) or spend 20 years in jail. The Captain was also fined a further of 20 billion Tanzanian shillings (USD 12,519,500) for the offence of pollution.
The arrest of the vessel was made in March 2009 by a four-nation joint regional patrol using the South African Environmental Protection vessel EPV Sarah Baartman. It involved fisheries officers from South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya. The patrol resulted in the arrest of several IUU vessels operating in the South-East Indian Ocean waters, amongst them the Tawariq 1.
The joint patrol arose from the cooperation fostered though the SADC Statement of Commitment on IUU fishing which SIF had supported, the SIF Working Group provided support throughout the case including facilitating the support of the Governments of Norway, USA and Mozambique to the Court procedures.