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.