Criticism of Navy over illegal fishing operation unjustified

  • Gerry Brownlee

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says ill-informed criticism of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s operation involving illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean ignores the success of the operation.

“The offshore patrol vessel Wellington and its crew have done a very good job in very challenging conditions in the Southern Ocean.

“They have successfully located, tracked and intercepted these vessels, and obtained the necessary evidence and documentation to enable further enforcement steps to be taken by the appropriate authorities.

“Options to continue monitoring of these vessels are being considered as well.

“Claims about a standoff revealing concerns about rules of engagement and warfighting capability are a nonsense.

“The Wellington’s captain is responsible for the ship and crew, including the final decision-making about whether a boarding proceeds or not.

“Criticism that the fishing vessels ‘outran’ the Navy is also wrong. The Wellington has done a great job in difficult circumstances and I congratulate the crew.”