More reasons to distrust presence of Ryazanovka

There is now more than ever reason for grave concerns over the presence of a Russian fishing vessel, Ryazanovka, at anchorage off Walvis Bay, after it transpired this week the vessel allegedly has whale capturing gear on board and is awaiting the final green light from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to capture live dolphins, whales, seals, penguins and other marine life to sell to aquariums in Asia.

To make matters more suspect is the fact Ryazanovka seeks registration as a Namibian-flagged vessel, but its status changed from fishing vessel to a status unknown which can include vessel for the capture of live marine creatures, including the killer whale (orca whale).
In recent weeks namib times has been carrying articles relating to an application made by a Chinese businessman to the Ministry of Fisheries to capture live marine mammals and other species in Namibian territorial waters and to export to buyers in Asia for the aquarium trade. The company that made this application is a Namibian registered company, Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research. Documents show on at least one instance a Chinese stakeholder is involved in the company.
Since namib times commenced an investigation into the matter, several different versions developed over the presence and business intentions of the visiting Ryazanovka.
Also, the degree to which the Namibian authorities are entertaining the application of Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research to capture live marine species and export it for captivity for human entertainment.
Firstly, the Master of Ryazanovka explained to several local stakeholders the vessel was used in Russia for the export of live marine mammals. The vessel is allegedly equipped for this purpose.
When namib times contacted the vessel’s agent, Trade Ocean, the agent in return explained the vessel’s arrival in Walvis Bay is to convert to a fishing vessel that will catch Namibian fish quotas.
Then, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, De Wet Shilunga, said there is no truth that an application by Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research includes the live capture of dolphins, whales and penguins. Only for live seals, Shi-lunga explained to a reporter of namib times.
On Wednesday more disturbing news was placed in the public domain.
An official letter of the Ministry of Works and Transport confirmed an application has been lodged by Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research to have Ryazanovka registered as a Namibian vessel.
On this official letter, dated 14 June 2016, the word “fishing” was struck off by hand and the letter now only indicated: “Registration of vessel Ryazanovka”, instead of “Registration of fishing vessel Ryazanovka”.
The letter confirms Welwitschia Aquatic and Wildlife Scientific Research purchased Ryazanovka, but with confirmation now the vessel is not a fishing vessel any more, Namibians are concerned: what purpose does the vessel have now?”
In the light thereof not only the public is concerned, but several Namibian and international conservation groups have become involved, among others asking questions to the relevant authorities but allegedly the feedback is skimpy, evasive and often not forthcoming.
In the light thereof,some circles indicated this week the time has come to bring the matter to the Office of the President and ask President Hage Geingob to become involved to ask the necessary questions to the officialdom.

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