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A US Court sentenced former captain of a fishing vessel belonging to Carlos Rafael (The Codfather) for blocking USCG inspection.

Former captain of Codfather’s fishing vessel sentenced for blocking Guard inspection

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Friday, November 30, 2018, 01:30 (GMT + 9)

Former captain of a New Bedford fishing boat owned by Carlos Rafael, known as 'The Codfather,' was sentenced in federal court in Boston for interfering with a US Coast Guard (USCG) inspection of a fishing boat off the Massachusetts coast.

Carlos Rafael "The Codfather"►

Thomas D. Simpson, the captain of the fishing vessel Bulldog, a New Bedford based commercial fishing vessel and one of several fishing vessels owned by Rafael, was sentenced to two years of probation, with the first four months to be served in home confinement with electronic monitoring, and ordered to pay a USD 15,000 fine.

In August 2018, Simpson pleaded guilty to one count of destruction or removal of property subject to seizure and inspection.

On May 31, 2014, the Bulldog was engaged in commercial fishing off the coast of Massachusetts when the US Coast Guard (USCG) boarded the vessel to perform a routine inspection. At the time of the boarding, the Bulldog’s net was deployed in the water and the crew was actively fishing.

The USCG Boarding Officer encountered Simpson in the Bulldog’s wheelhouse and instructed him to haul in the fishing net for inspection. The fishing net is controlled from the wheelhouse by an electric winch, which Simpson activated, but instead of hauling the fishing net onto the vessel, he let out more of the cable which attaches the net to the vessel.

The first vessel moored on the right is the FV Bulldog. (Photo: Stock File)

When the USCG Boarding Officer realized that the captain was letting the net out, he instructed him to stop and to haul the net in.
Simpson ignored the order and continued to let out cable until the net became detached from the Bulldog and sank, which, according to Court sources, endangered not only the Coast Guard boarding team but his own crew.

“Vessel boardings by law enforcement personnel to determine compliance with fishery regulations help support the continued sustainability of the nation’s fisheries,” said James Landon, Director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement.

“When fishermen attempt to destroy evidence to avoid detection of illegal fishing, they not only undermine the enforcement management measures designed to ensure that the fishery remains productive, but they also jeopardize the safety of those who enforce those rules,” the official stated.

In his view, this investigation is a great example of the US marine law enforcement agencies working together to uphold federal marine resource laws and to bring to justice those who believe they are above them.

Federal officers inspecting the facilities of Carlos Seafood, owned by Carlos Rafael. (Photo: file)►

On September 25, 2017, Rafael, often referred to as 'The Codfather,' was sentenced in federal court in Boston to 46 months in federal prison on a variety of charges related to the operation of his commercial fishing business.

 

Related articles:

- NOAA lifts fishing ban on fishermen affected by 'Codfather' violations
- NOAA shuts down Codfather’s fishing group
- Codfather to forfeit USD 2.59 million and surrender 34 groundfish permits
 


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