THE Heinaste a super trawler, whose captain has been accused of fish piracy off the Namibian coast, has been impounded during joint operation between the Namibian Police and officials from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
The Comander of the Namibian Police in the Erongo Region, Commissioner Andreas Nelumbo, confirmed that the vessel has been arrested and that it is currently moored in the port of Walvis Bay while an investigation into the allegations of fish piracy is ongoing.
The captain of the Heinaste, Kristian Arngrimur Brynjolfsonn is one of the five vessel captains that has been arrested during November after they were found to be fishing within the 200 meter depth restricted area off the Kunene River mouth earlier this year.
The Heinaste fishing vessel sails under a Namibian flag and has been catching fish for Esja Fishing which is a subsidiary of the Icelandic multi-national seafood company, Samherji who stands at the centre of the shocking fisheries corruption scandal revealed by the so-called Fishrot Files.
Captain Brynjolfsonn was arrested towards the end of November along with five other fishing vessel masters. The five vessel masters were taken into custody on the same charges which are trawling for horse mackerel in sensitive areas vital for the breeding and spawning Namibia’s most precious fish resource in the area of the Kunene River mouth and very close to the country’s shoreline in depths less than 200 metres. Besides that fact the five captains also face charges of harvesting marine resources subject to quota or permitted by-catch without a right, an exploratory right or a fishing agreement.
The Heinaste freezer trawler was also the subject of a fierce battle in the Windhoek High Court after Namibian companies with shareholding in the vessel approached the court with an application to issue an interdict against the proposed sale of the Heinaste. The court issued the interdict after it was determined that the shareholders’ agreement was binding.
The Heinaste is currently moored at the new passenger liner jetty in the port of Walvis Bay after it has been at anchor in the bay off the port since her captain was taken in to custody on charges of fish piracy.
Commissioner Nelumbo said the ship is manned by a skeleton crew while moored at the passenger liner quay.