cover image: Dark webs:  Uncovering those behind forced labour on commercial fishing fleets


Dark webs: Uncovering those behind forced labour on commercial fishing fleets

21 Nov 2023

Lack of legal and beneficial ownership transparency Despite the scale and horrific nature of the forced labour being committed on board distant water fishing vessels, very little is known about the companies behind the foreign commer- cial vessels accused of these labour and human rights Despite the scale and violations, or their beneficial owners. [...] They include International Maritime Law, which is the extended regime of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), the Torremolinos Protocol and the 2012 Cape Town Agreement. [...] This is particularly the case of China which as a flag state has a weak record of engaging with the international community and complying with regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO) obligations.46 China for example has failed to endorse some fundamental marine conventions including the Forced Labour Convention (1930) and the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise. [...] For instance, in 2022 Greenpeace denounced that Taiwanese vessels supplying US seafood giant Bumble Bee had been accused of forced labour and IUU fishing.58 The crew of one of the vessels, the Da Wang – flagged to Vanuatu at the time of the offence according to Lloyd’s, a flag of convenience with lax flag state controls – was even indicted on charges of forced labour and human trafficking, with re. [...] This is made worse in the Irish fishing by the lack of financial transparency of the vessels accused of forced labour, with the authors of this report only being able to find some shareholder information for two of sector them.
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