Aafrika riigid võitlevad piraat-kalameestega

Night falls suddenly in the Ships’ Graveyard, a haven for pirate fishing boats about 90 miles off the coast of Sierra Leone. But a light could be seen coming from the Long Way 007, a rusting Chinese trawler with holes in its body so big that an adult could crawl through.

Onboard were Xun Wen Guo and Zhen Tao, the last of a crew in late May that once numbered 14 men. They’d been adrift for more than a week on a ship with no radio, no engines, and little food. Their employers, a firm based in nearby Guinea that could not be contacted for comment, told them to keep the ship afloat long enough for it to be towed into port to be sold for scrap.

Neither man was clear when relief would arrive. And despite a precarious situation, a regular occurrence in poorly regulated African waters, neither man wanted to abandon the boat and risk losing two years of pay. The companies typically hold sailors’ wages and passports on shore.

Need kaks hiinlast on osa kommertslikust kalalaevastikust, kes püüavad kala Lääne-Aafrika rannikul. Sierra Leone, Guinea ja Libeeria valitsused süüdistavad tihtipeale neid välismaised kalamehi kohalikkude terroriseerimises, elatise ilmajätmisest ning kalavarude hävitamises. Kuna vaesed Aafrika riigid ei jõua ülal pidada rannavalvet, on pöördutud palgaliste sõdurite poole.

“We used to catch lots of fish in the morning; now we must stay out all day to make enough to feed our families,” says John Koroma, a local fisher. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that illegal fishing robs sub-Saharan Africa of more than $1.2 billion annually, in stolen fish, unpaid taxes, and lost work.

Euroopas kehtestatud karmid kvoodid kalapüügile on sundinud mitmeid firmasid suunduma kala püüdma kehvasti reguleeritud vaeste Aafrika riikide vetesse. Greenpeace korraldas kolme-nädalase reisi Aafrika ranniku äärde ning vaatles ligi 100 laeva, millest üle poole kalastas illegaalselt. Eelmisel kuul WWF’i poolt väljastatud raportis kinnitatakse tugevat ohtu mitmele kalaliigile (s.h. tuunikala ja ahven).

Ms. Duthie says the practices of unlicensed fishing vessels are largely to blame. Often Chinese-owned, they trawl the ocean with huge, closely woven nets, catching everything from dolphins to sea horses. The catch is dumped on deck, where up to 70 percent is discarded. Poor quality fish is sent to a “factory ship,” where it is canned and sold in African countries. Prime grouper or snapper is “transhipped,” or put on more robust ships with freezers. Much of the catch is then whisked toward European markets.

Traallaevad sõidavad tihti kogemata üle kohalikke kanuude või paatide, neid purustades ning lõigates pooleks võrkusid, mille ostmiseks peab kohalik kalamees aastaid raha koguma.

Sellise tegevuse piiramiseks on Aafrika valitsused sunnitud pöörduma relvastatud vabatahtlike poole.

One former mercenary, who spoke on condition of anonymity and now describes himself as an “environmentalist,” was hired to patrol Sierra Leone’s five-mile exclusion zone. Boats who violate the zone, risking fines, often try to ram enforcement vessels or fire on them with automatic rifles, he says.

“We carried light machine guns, a more effective deterrent and more impressive [than automatic rifles]. For self-defense we did carry [rocket-propelled grenades]. These are quite capable of penetrating the side of a vessel and the engine,” he says.

Ükski Ship’s Graveyard’is seisnud traaler ei tunnistanud ennast süüdi seaduste rikkumises. Paljud kalamehed on lihtsalt sunnitud olema laevas, kuna hea saagi tõttu ei luba omanik mehi kaldale tulla, vaatamata sellele, et ka tööleping on juba lõppenud. 2 hiinlast laeval LONG WAY 007 ei saa isegi kaldaga ühendust võtta, kuna nende augulisel laeval puudub igasugune kommunikatsioonivahend. Samuti ei ole nad kuulnud teise Hiina traaleri uppumisest eelmisel aastal, mis viis märga hauda kaasa 14 meremeest.

ILO (The International Labor Organization) hinnangul hukkub aastas ligi 24000 kalameest, enamus neist arengumaades.

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