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Detained NZ vessel now in legal battle with USDOJ

The U.S. Justice Department is in litigation with the owner of a New Zealand based fishing vessel, detained in American Samoa since this summer for alleged violation of federal and international marine pollution laws, says a U.S. Coast Guard official.According to the website of the New Zealand Maritime, a government regulatory authority, the San Nikunau vessel is homeported in Auckland and its registered owner is Sanford Ltd. It is a listed as a \tuna seine vessel\ built in 1982 as a drum trawler but converted to a fishing vessel in 1991. Sanford purchase the vessel in 2001 and has a total crew of about 20.Lt. Steven Caskey, supervisor for the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Unit in Pago Pago, confirmed to Samoa News yesterday that the vessel has been detained in the territory since July this year following an inspection.\They (the vessel) were suspected of marine pollution violation and we conducted an investigation into this case