30 Dec 2016

Seafish Tasmania Director Arrested In Australia's Largest Cocaine Bust

Largest Cocaine Bust In Australia's History
A 15-member narcotics importation ring was broken on Christmas Day. 500 kilograms of cocaine was unloaded at Parsley Bay on the Hawkesbury River NSW.
Police have alleged the gang made five attempts to import drugs into Australia. 32 kilograms of heroin was seized in Fiji in December 2014 and another 600 kilograms of cocaine was seized in Tahiti in March 2016.
"Officers from the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and NSW Police have worked with international authorities for the past 2½ years to break the syndicate."
                                       The Tasmanian Connection
The Elidi owned by Seafish Tasmania
One of the arrested, Joe Pirrello was or is a director of Seafish Tasmania the company involved in the Supertrawler debacle. A company registered at the same Triabunna Tasmania address named 'Seafish Tasmania Pelagic' was a front company for the supertrawler owners Parlevliet & Van der Plas. We had previously pointed out Seafish Tasmania were probably involved in tax fraud over trawler leasing arrangemets.

Also arrested was James Collins of Hobart, owner of Lorjona P/L operator of the Saxons Progress and Corvina fishing trawlers. James Collins had been on an advisory committee to The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). Collins was also associated with Seafish Tasmania as a coroners report into the 2010 death of Basil Lee shows. Lee died in unusual circumstances after apparently falling from either the Elidi owned by Seafish Tasmania or the Corvini owned by James Collins. Both vessels were moored together at the Seafish wharf at Triabunna.
Another man arrested, marine engineer Stuart Ayrton also worked for Seafish Tasmania.  Seafish Tasmania was known to have put pressure on the regulator over fish quotas.
Maybe more of the Tasmanian connection will be revealed when the case goes to court on March 2017.

'Turn Off The Satellite Transponder'
The Federal Liberal Government allowed the trawler the 'Geelong Star' to turn off it's satellite transponder so it could operate in secrecy. This now appears idiotic given the role of fishing trawlers in narcotics importation.

The Chinese Cocaine Shipment of December 2016
An obvious question now is 'were Tasmanian fishing trawlers involved in the Chinese plan to import 186kgs of cocaine into Australia?
The Kaiyo Maru No. 8 carrying cocaine was escorted into Hobart in December 2016. 10 Chinese nationals pleaded not guilty on January 13 and have been remanded in custody until March.

Quote of the week
"Eric Abetz believes Seafish Tasmania may be entitled to damages because it has abided by all the Commonwealth's requirements". "The knee-jerk reaction by the Government opens up a huge compensation claim he said." September 12 2012 

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