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14 Mar 2017

Helen King, Business Day

New Zealand: Award-winning journalist praises govt. efforts & legal reform to eliminate slavery on fishing vessels

"Award-winning journalist praises government stamp down on sea slavery", 8 Mar 2017

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist is praising the New Zealand government's efforts to stamp out slavery on fishing vessels. Ian Urbina is in Auckland to present a talk on Wednesday about his 2015 New York Times series 'The Outlaw Ocean', covering the different types of lawlessness on the high seas. "One of the reasons I wanted to come to New Zealand is because of their involvement in the Oyang story, it's pretty inspiring," Urbina said. In 2010  the 38-year-old Korean fishing boat Oyang 70 sank in calm conditions off the coast of Otago. Six men died when the captain refused to cut loose a 120-tonne catch, causing the ship to roll and sink as the haul was brought in.Following the incident a 2011 investigation revealed the government allowed fishermen from poor countries to be exploited in New Zealand waters, many were beaten and forced to work for days without rest. This prompted the government to make law changes which came in to effect in 2016 requiring all vessels operating in New Zealand waters to follow the country's laws.Urbina said it was rare for a government to step up in the way New Zealand had following the exposure of abuse on the Oyang fishing vessels, "The issues weren't affecting New Zealand citizens, they were doing something on the behalf of human rights in general."[...]