The Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck both welcomed the decision by Thai officials and said Australia fully supports the on-going investigation.
The Kunlun was intercepted by the Royal New Zealand Navy in the Southern Ocean in January and the vessel was boarded and inspected in the Indian Ocean on its way north by officers from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) to verify the flag State of the vessel in February.
The vessel has a long history of IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean and is the subject of an INTERPOL Purple Notice seeking information on the individuals and networks that own, operate and profit from the actions of the vessel.
The Kunlun attempted to avoid detection by entering the Thai port under the name Taishan and claiming to be flagged to Indonesia.
Mr Dutton said Australia works with international partners, including through the Regional Plan of Action with south-east Asian countries, to combat IUU fishing.
“I would like to commend the officers from ACBPS who boarded the vessel and gathered information which has led to the ship being detained,” Mr Dutton said.
“Australia was able to alert south-east Asian nations to the potential arrival of Kunlun into their ports.
“It is now being detained and Thai officials are gathering information as part of an investigation into the vessel's nationality and activities in the region.
“This is an excellent example of interagency and international cooperation achieving tangible results.”
Senator Colbeck reinforced the level of international cooperation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
“The Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Environment has announced it is investigating links between Spanish fishing companies and IUU vessels found fishing in the area of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
“IUU fishing is a global issue and it great to see this level of international cooperation to protect our marine resources and eliminate illegal fishing.
“The Australian Government will continue to provide support as necessary.
“Australia will continue to take effective action, together with our international counterparts, in order to send a strong message that IUU fishing will not be tolerated,” Senator Colbeck said.
“I commend international authorities for their action.”
Fishing activity in the Southern Ocean is managed under the auspices of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.