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Nigerian Ship Sinks off Sao Tome Waters

After four-month pursuit, captain sinks Nigerian illegal fishing ship After one of the longest aquatic pursuits in history, a vessel wanted for illegal fishing lies wrecked nearly 4km beneath the water off West Africa.
The vessel, Thunder, had been stalked by the Bob Barker, operated by the conservationist group Sea Shepherd, since 17 December. The two ships played a game of cat and mouse for 110 days, across 10,260 nautical miles through the Southern, Indian and Atlantic oceans, before the pursuit came to an end in the waters off São Tomé on Monday evening. “The Thunder suddenly came to a complete stop, the crew came out with their life jackets on and threw a ladder over the side,” said Peter Hammarstedt, captain of the Bob Barker. “I radioed the captain to ask if they were in distress and he said ‘yes, we’re sinking’.”
The Sam Simon, Bob Barker’s sister ship, took Thunder’s 40 crew on board as the boat gradually slipped below the waves over a six-hour period. The crew of the Thunder comprised about 30 Indonesians, with Spanish officers. The captain was Chilean. Hammarstedt said the Thunder’s captain was cheering and applauding as the boat went down and was recalcitrant when offered shelter on the Sam Simon.
Sea Shepherd spent four months preventing Thunder illegally hauling large quantities of toothfish, a protected Antarctic species, from the waters. Three Bob Barker crew members boarded the Thunder and reported that the boat was deliberately scuttled. “It was suspicious that all the hatches and doors were left open, some tied open,” Hammarstedt said. “That’s counterintuitive to keeping a vessel afloat. They opened it up so it would sink, the engine room was completely filled with water.”

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