Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson

The poaching vessel, Thunder has issued a distress call that it is sinking.The poaching vessel, Thunder has issued
a distress call that it is sinking.
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Erwin Vermeulen
All officers and crew have abandoned the Thunder.

Three crewmembers from the Bob Barker have boarded the Thunder.

The Bob Barker boarding party was able to secure and remove a computer, mobile phones and charts from the Thunder. The logbook seems to have been removed or destroyed. Secured evidence also included a whole toothfish now in the freezer of the Bob Barker.

All evidence points to an intentional sinking. The depth of the sea is 4,000 meters. There will be no recovery.

The Thunder is listing heavily. The crew observed that the engine is completely flooded and the cargo hatches have been opened. There do not seem to be any injuries amongst the crew of the Thunder.

Australian Search and Rescue has attempted to contact the Nigerian Navy but so far there has been no response. No response from Sao Tome either.

All 39 of the Thunder’s crew are in lifeboats in calm seas. The Sam Simon and Bob Barker are on the scene but will not recover crew unless there is an emergency. Sea Shepherd is awaiting assistance from either Nigerian or Sao Tome authorities. Both Captain Hammarstedt and Captain Chakravarty consider the Thunder crew to be potentially violent. The seas are very calm and the weather is good. The crew of the Thunder are quite safe and under close observation.

One thing is certain however – the career of this most notorious toothfish boat is now over. It will never return to the Southern Ocean.

Pin It
Sea Shepherd