Sanford Respects Government Decision on Foreign Charter Vessels

AUCKLAND, 22 May, 2012 — While respecting the Government decision today on foreign charter vessels, it is unfortunate that the irresponsible actions by some operators, particularly in respect to the Oyang vessels, have necessitated this action. Regrettably, those irresponsible actions have caused damage to New Zealand’s international reputation as a responsible and reputable fishing nation and forced the Government to make this decision.

Sanford Limited has had a policy of 100% observer coverage onboard its Korean charter vessels for more than 10 years, and has been able to deal with any issues that have occurred in a responsible and timely manner.

Sanford continues to actively seek ways to improve processes on board its four foreign flagged charter vessels to ensure that the conditions aboard its charter vessels reflect New Zealand standards and requirements and will continue to do so for the next four years.

The effect of this decision is not immediate as there is a four-year phase in period which will give us time to assess what our options are going forward. The decision will also have to be considered by the current vessel owners to determine the effect and their willingness to allow the vessels to be reflagged.

Eric Barratt
Managing Director

Press Release FCVs 22 May 2012

UPDATE: Ongoing Internal Investigation Finds No Corroboration of Human-Rights-Abuse Allegations on Sanford Foreign Chartered Vessels

Over the past several months, we have launched an investigation into claims of alleged human rights abuses aboard the Dong Won 519 foreign fishing vessel chartered by Sanford Limited. Interviews with independent observers and crew aboard the vessels, many conducted by impartial third parties, continue to find no evidence to support assertions of improper treatment of the crewmen. Our investigation is continuing as we make every effort to determine if these allegations have any merit whatsoever. To date, we have been unable to verify the claims made against Sanford.

Our inquiry did reveal some discrepancies between the crew compensation paid by Dong Won to the crewing agent, and the payments ultimately received by some of the crew members from the agent. We have commissioned and retained an international accounting firm to investigate this issue further. We are also taking immediate action to ensure the crewmen are compensated properly by offering to pay them directly in New Zealand, and we will provide financial restitution where a discrepancy exists. These actions support our long-standing commitment to creating ethical and responsible work environments for all those who service and support our foreign charter vessels.