Observer Deaths and Disappearances


Observers risk their lives to provide the data necessary for fisheries managers to sustainably manage fisheries. Their protection is essential to their nations’ food security. There are many competing fisheries and other human interests, as well as the right of marine organisms to exist.  Observers struggle to rise above these to provide managers with an unbiased assessment of the impact of fishing operations.  This mitigates the guesswork in managing fisheries and provides managers with the data to fairly and ethically manage marine resources. Yet, many observers are forgotten by the very agencies who are responsible for their welfare.   They are knowingly placed in harm’s way without protections or accountability to their welfare.  Some are not even afforded the most basic worker rights, such as a binding contract, insurance, or even wages in some instances (only subsistence and travel).  Often the families are left without a source of income and alone, without information from the agencies.

We call for the implementation of public transparency and accountability measures of fisheries observer programmes regarding observer harassment, interference, bribery attempts and deaths. We continually strive to urge nations to:   

  • Publicly and regularly report on observer harassment, interference, injury, bribery attempts, and deaths;
  • Report on circumstances involved and the lessons learned;
  • Study trends in specific fisheries, regions, flag states, and company owners of monitored vessels where incidents occur;
  • Involve multiple stakeholders in developing transparent and accountability policies to reduce their occurrence.
  • Provide information and care to the families left behind.
We are still uploading documents and information, so please contact us if you need immediate assistance with more information on the cases below or if you wish to report anything to us. 

Unsolved cases


Samuel Abayateye – October 29 or 30, 2023

Home: Anyamam, Ghana
Vessel: Marine 707
IMO/MMSI #s:  7419755/627880000
Call Sign: 9GDT
Flag registry: Ghanaa
Vessel Owner: World Marine Co., Ltd – Ghana
Employer: Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD)

Samuel Abayateye, a Ghanaian fisheries observer working for the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD), disappeared on or about 30 October 2023 from the joint Ghana and Korean owned pole and line fishing vessel, the Marine 707.  Six weeks later, on 09 December, a man’s body washed up on the shores of Samuel’s home lagoon, Anyamam and was identified by his blood brother, Yohane Abayateye, based on an orange t-shirt and some body scars.  The following morning the police arrived at the scene and transported the body to the Ghana Hospital morgue.  They obtained a DNA sample from the body and from Samuel’s biological mother on 14 December to confirm it was the body of Samuel Abayateye.  As of the publishing of this story, neither the police, nor MoFAD have provided any updates to the family.  APO wrote Ghanaian officials and received limited information.  We continue to engage with the Honorable Minister of MoFAD and other officials to advocate confirmation of the body’s identity and to provide his family with compensation for their loss.  He leaves behind his widow and two children.  Please view Mongabay’s video and read their coverage of this remarkable observer.  

28 December 2023: Fisheries observer turns up dead in latest incident in Ghana waters.
02 May 2023: No answers for Ghanaian fishery observer’s family months after suspected death.

Paulo Peixoto – June 20, 2023 – off the coast of Argentina

Home: Portugal
Vessel: Calvão
Vessel’s Flag Registry: Portugal
Employer: Promarhina

Please see Human Rights at Sea report, The Necessity of Protecting Fisheries Observers at Sea


 Nuru Gillen – Early December 2021

Home: Brufut, The Gambia, West Africa
Vessel: F/V Hispasen V – MMSI: 663053000; Call Sign 6WJO
Vessel Flag Registry: Senegal
Employer: Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources, The Gambia
Information is not forthcoming from Gambian officials.  Association of Gambian Fisheries Observer (AGFO) notified APO on December 12, 2021 of the death of Fisheries Observer, Mr. Nuru Gillen from Brufut, The Gambia.  The vessel, Hispasen V, was docked in Dakur, Senegal, West Africa, December 1-3.  Mr. Gillen is assumed to have boarded the vessel during that time as one of his colleagues told APO that Mr. Gillen was seen there on December 3, alive and in apparent good health.  The vessel departed Dakur December 3, around 2000 (all times in UTC), for Gambian fishing grounds, where they fished from December 4-11.  On December 11, the Hispasen V departed for Dakur again, where they briefly docked for 2.5 hours before heading south to The Gambia on December 12, at 1029 hours.  APO was notified of Mr. Gillen’s death an hour after the vessel departed Dakur.  This would place his death sometime between December 3 and December 12.  The Hispasen V arrived in the port of Banjul, The Gambia, in the early morning hours on December 13.  Less than fifteen hours later, Mr. Gillen was buried at Brufat cemetery, after which the Hispasen V departed for the same fishing grounds where they had been December 4-11.  At this time it’s not known what the cause of death was or if another observer was deployed on the vessel. 
Timeline of the Hispasen V (UTC) – Data retrieved from Global Fishing Watch and Marine Traffic
12/3/21 – Mr. Gillen seen alive and apparent good health in Dakur, Senegal, West Africa;
12/3/21 – 2000 – Hispasen V departed Dakur (docked in Dakur since 12/1/21 0058h), presumably with Mr. Gillen. 
12/4/21 – 0439 – Hispasen V arrived to the fishing grounds, The Gambia EEZ 
12/11/21 – 2308 – Hispasen V left fishing grounds toward Dakur
12/12/21 – 0818 – Arrived Dakur
12/12/21 – 1029 – Departed Dakur heading south toward the Port of Banjul, The Gambia
12/12/21 – 1132 – APO was notified of Mr. Gillen’s death
12/13/21 – 0218 – Hispasen V arrived in the Port of Banjul, The Gambia
12/13/21 – ~1700 – Mr. Gillen’s burial ceremony was at Brufat Cemetery
12/13/21 – 1826 – Hispasen V departed Port of Banjul, The Gambia to return fishing.


Arnold Latu – Late September 2021



Home: Tonga
Vessel: Hsin Long 1 (IMO-LR: 9627241; Call Sign: 3DW1; Owner: Hsinlong Fisheries Ltd; Chinese owned/operated)
Vessel Flag Registry: Fiji

Employer:  Tonga Ministry of Fisheries, Tonga Observer Programme


Eritara Kaierua Aatii(Kiribati) – 03 Mar 2020

Currently under investigation for being murdered, Eritara was placed on board the Win Far 636, a Taiwanese registered and flagged tuna purse seine vessel under the authority of the Kiribati Observer Programm (KIOB). The KIOB forms part of the ‘Authorised Providers for the WCPFC Regional Observer Programme’.[1] Eritara’s SPC/FFA Regional Observer Workbook Reference Form states that the vessel was also operating as part of ‘Special Projects’ under the PNA MSC Project MI4638. [2] Eritara’s journals and logs reveal that the vessel was accordingly obtaining MSC certified catch, while also hauling conventional caught tuna. [3] His family reported that on previous recent trips he had been harassed and felt his life was threatened. His death is featured in a July 2020 report by Human Rights at Sea. [4] While talking with Eritara’s family, APO discovered three other Kiribati observer deaths – Tabuia Tekaie in 2009, Moanniki Nawii in 2017, and Antin Tamwabeti in 2019, described below.


Antin Tamwabeti (Kiribati) – 28 May 2019

Antin’s death is rumored to have been suicide. [5] He had been harassed on board an IATTC registered vessel in January 2019. The latter vessel was Panama-flagged, Taiwanese-owned fish carrier Shin Ho Chun No. 102, where he was threatened by the crew. This was reported by the company that hired him, MRAG Americas, in a report published prior to his suicide. [6] 


Emmanuel Essien(Ghana) – 05 July 2019

Emmanuel Essien went missing from the Meng Xin 15 on 5 July 2019. The Meng Xin 15 belongs to the Chinese state-owned enterprise, Dalian Meng Xin Ocean Fisheries [7] and is a Ghana-flagged industrial trawler operating in Ghanaian waters. The Meng Xin vessels have been subject to investigations for at least 16 fishery offenses since 2016 in Ghana and Sierra Leone and fined more than $270.000 in Ghana alone for fishery offenses committed. [8] Essien had been an outspoken and diligent observer on the frontlines against Ghana’s overfishing crisis, ready to refer observations made on vessels to the police. [9] According to his family he had been threatened for reporting illegal activities on trawlers and was worried for his safety. [10], [11] He left home on 30 June and disappeared six days later from the vessel Meng Xin 15 on 5 July 2019. [12]


Edison Geovanny Valencia Bravo(Ecuador) – 05 March 2018

Mr. Bravo disappeared on board the Ecuador-flagged Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) registered vessel Don Ramón, under its observer programme under the Agreement for International Dolphin Conservation Programme, which specifically manages tuna purse seine operations in the IATTC. The vessel Don Ramón’s crew stated they noticed him missing on the 4 March evening and his absence from the vessel was reported to his father on 6 March. [13] The vessel reached port on 14 March 2018, according to one media article. [14] 21 crew members subsequently reported to have noticed his absence on the 4 March, while his family was notified on 6 March about his absence, according to another national media publication. [15] A missing persons notification by the Ecuadorian Government states he was last seen on the 6 March at sea. [16] An unsuccessful search and rescue mission was launched by air and by sea, joined by vessels from the US, Panama and Peru. [17] The vessel left for sea on 20 January 2018. According to a Facebook group found in his name no answers had been found for his disappearance even a year later in March 2019. [18] Port authorities at the time were reported by local media to have issued a statement that Bravo had likely fallen accidentally overboard. [19] 


Moanniki Nawii(Kiribati) – December 2017 (unknown date)

Moanniki was on board a Taiwanese registered and flagged purse seine vessel. The family was attempting to get an autopsy from authorities for 3 years. According to a news article, “Maonniki Nawii was found dead in his cabin aboard the Yu Wen 301 on December 18, 2017. He’d failed to show up for breakfast. The vessel was in Papua New Guinea waters.” [20] It remains unclear where this information came from, if and what investigations took place and what has been officially declared as the cause of death.


James Junior Numbaru(Papua New Guinea) – 25 June 2017

Mr. Numbaru fell overboard during a Papua New Guinea, National Fisheries Authority (NFA) observer assignment [21] on board a Chinese purse seine vessel,  at 15:38 UTC. The Man Overboard (MOB) was captured on the vessel’s CCTV. His family conducted its own investigation and the NFA kept the case open years later. APO determined through the organization Global Fishing Watch that the vessel did not initiate a search and rescue operation after the time they claimed they were aware of him missing, as required under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission observer safety measures CMM 2017-03. [22] His notebook revealed that he made a notation of pollution just 3 days before he disappeared. This marks the 4th disappearance of a Papua New Guinea observer within 7 years. Despite several attempts to obtain information on these disappearances, APO has received no official explanation.


Usaia Masibalavu(Fiji) – May 2016

Died on the F/V Western Pacific, a United States flagged Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) registered tuna purse seine vessel. According to an US Coast Guard (USCG) After Action Report the vessel informed the USCG on 19 May 2016 at 11:04 am (likely American Samoa LCL time) that Masibalavu had a ‘twisted knee injury’ and the vessel was heading to port so Masibalavu could seek medical attention at a hospital. The injury was described as a minor injury. A few hours later, in the afternoon of that same day the vessel updated the USCG, saying that Masibalavu had ‘problems with his vision’. One day later, on 20 March 2016 ‘around 13:00’, the vessel called the emergency contact at the NOAA Observer Program for American Samoa, the Port Coordinator Steve Kostelnik to inform him that Masibalavu had ‘passed away on route to American Samoa’. [23] A subsequent autopsy defined the immediate cause of death as ‘Septic aortic valve endocarditis’ and the date and time of death 21 May 2016 at 09:45am. [24]


Larry Gavin / Kevin(Papua New Guinea) – 2014

Larry’s name and date of disappearance are uncertain.  Various sources have reported his name as Larry Gavin and that he disappeared in 2016. [25] We’re seeking information on Larry’s disappearance, as the details remain obscure. One PNG observer, who wishes to remain anonymous, reported to APO that his name was Larry Kevin, not Gavin; that he was 26 years old at the time of his disappearance; that he died on board the Japanese-flagged vessel Miya Maru No. 18; that it was his second trip with the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and that he disappeared from that vessel in 2014, not 2016. However other state he disappeared in 2016. [26]


Wesley Talia– July xx(?), 2015

Kavieng, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea (PNG) (originally from Rabaul, New Britain, PNG) – Disappeared. According to an article by Raymond Sigimet, “Observer Wesley Talia was reported missing in the waters of New Ireland in 2015. Locals later said they saw his body floating in the sea in clothing similar to ship’s standard clothing.” [27]

According to a source wishing to stay anonymous: “His body was sighted by people in a canoe about three days after he went missing. The people thought to tow it [the canoe with the body] to land but decided not to because their canoe was quite full. When later the people heard that Wesley was missing they recognised that the body they saw was highly likely that of Wesley, because of it’s size and shape. The people did report it to local fisheries staff shortly after they knew of the disappearance [of Wesley] and to other villagers before that. However, local fisheries took a “long time” to get back to them with a few more questions, but then fisheries [NFA] quickly dismissed it as not substantial enough to follow up. That the body was wrapped in a “blue cloak” (the same as the vessel’s livery) is of some interest. There are all sorts of colours around this story – the vessel he went missing from was one of a fleet of 7-9 (again different numbers depending on which local expert you speak to) which were on their first trips of a rather unusual licensing arrangement whereby they were foreign vessels fishing under license to the provincial government rather than to the national government, as foreign vessels usually are. The observer deployed was placed by the only PNG observer provider – the national government, however.” 


Josh Sheldon(USA) – 26 March 2016

Josh died of an advanced Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (“MRSA”) infection that he had allegedly contracted on a Vietnamese longline fishing vessel, the MORNING STAR, while working for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Pelagic Observer Program in Miami, Florida. NMFS published a report describing the protocols followed to rescue him when he became unconscious. According to a lawsuit that was filed by the family on July 18, 2017, Josh had become ill shortly after embarking on March 13, 2016. The lawsuit [28] alleges that despite Josh’s illness, the vessel proceeded to the fishing grounds and didn’t send an emergency distress transmission requesting emergency medical assistance until March 16, 2016 when they had begun fishing and discovered Josh could not be roused. It appears that the captain called his fish buyer to get NMFS’ phone number. NMFS was called, and they asked to speak to Josh, but he couldn’t talk. NMFS made 3 more attempts and got the same answer – that Josh couldn’t come to the phone. It was then that NMFS contacted the US Coast Guard and facilitated a MEDEVAC the following morning. The helicopter delivered Josh to a hospital in Louisiana where he eventually succumbed to the illness on March 26. Please see the NMFS contracted Observer Program Safety Review, [29] which released more details about the protocols followed and the review team’s recommendations.


Keith Davis(USA) – 10 September 2015

Disappeared. Keith was working for MRAG Americas on an Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) transshipment observer assignment, stationed on the Panama-flagged reefer Victoria No. 168. He disappeared after having collected data on fish being transshipped to the Victoria No. 168, from the longline fishing vessel, Chung Kuo No. 818. Both vessels are tied to a company in Taiwan, Gilontas Ocean Group, both are flagged in Panama (as of January 2021) and the Victoria No.168 has since changed its name to Kai Hang 168. Using ‘flags of convenience’ – Victoria No. 168 was flagged in Panama and the Chung Kuo No.818 in Vanuatu at the time of Keith’s disappearance. Chung Kuo No. 818 has since changed flags and ownership to Panama and is no longer registered with WCPFC, but with the IATTC as of January 2021. [30] Panama has closed its investigation without any official report. The Chung Kuo No. 818 was never called into port or otherwise investigated” and suspected of having people on board that could have been identified as suspects to a potential criminal investigation, please see a timeline [31] of the events. 

Keith was previously a board member with the APO and helped develop the “Eyes on the Sea” Project – a compilation of short stories from the Observer community. Copies are available here.


Chris Langel(USA) – 10 March 2012

On 10 March 2012 the F/V Lady Cecelia and its crew went missing off the coast of Washington, prompting an extensive search by the US Coast Guard, locating a debris field but no sign of the vessel or the men. [32], [33] The vessel was later found “in 460 feet of water approximately 20 miles off the Washington coast.” [34] All crew members, Chris Langel, Luke Jensen, Dave Nichols, and Jason Bjaranson were presumed dead. [35]  


JH Kim(Korea) – 13 December 2010

A Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) fisheries observer at the time of his death, Mr. Kim died in the Antarctica when the F/V Insung No.1 capsized, together with 21 or 22 crew members who also lost their lives. Varying reports were given for the number of dead or missing crew members. [36] A second Scientific Observer from Russia (the International Observer) was rescued by the F/V Hongjin 707 and survived. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission of New Zealand conducted the investigation. New Zealand coroner blamed negligence as the cause of the sinking.


Charlie Lasisi(Papua New Guinea) – 29 March 2010

A recent case study of Lasisi’s disappearance was published by Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) in 2020 and will be quoted here, with HRAS’ permission:

“Charlie Lasisi was employed as an Observer with PNG’s National Fisheries Authority (NFA) when he disappeared in 2010 on board Dolores 838 in the Bismark seas near PNG’s Indonesian border (2° 04.5863 S, 142° 04.80000 E). [37]According to a PNG blog, police said the Observer Lasisi had been complaining about dolphins being fished by the vessel. [38] It is unclear who in person reported his disappearance, but according to an article published by WikiTribune, [39] PNG police found Mr Lasisi had disappeared on 29 March 2010, a report was sent on 31 March to the NFA Managing Director Sylvester Pokajam and the National Maritime Safety Authority, who consequently sent officers to investigate on the suspicion of murder. [40] The vessel is owned by the Philippines Rd Tuna Ventures, Inc. (Formerly South Sea Fishing Ventures), which runs the Madang-based RD Tuna Canners Limited in Madang Province, PNG. Six Filipino crew members were brought to Port Moresby for questioning and were charged for the alleged murder of Mr. Lasisi. [41] Charges against the six suspects were later dismissed and the suspects discharged, with the reason given that the prosecution had only provided circumstantial and insufficient evidence for a trial; all evidence, also in the form of testimonies, was dismissed by the Papua New Guinea district court to be “irrelevant”. [42]

It was later reported that his remains were discovered off the coast of West Sepik in October 2015, bound in chains, suggesting a murder had taken place. [43] It is unclear though how the body was identified or when exactly it was found. The report alleging the above […] is from 2015, but no date is given in […] the account as to when the body was found.  No further indictment was brought. Questions therefore remain unanswered both in respect of the investigation itself and the circumstances reported […]. The case continues to be overshadowed by uncertainty, due to a lack of comprehensive recording of evidence and facts (in the public domain) and probably a lack of transparency with regards to the investigation’s results.

Police retained DNA samples from the family to corroborate the identity of the body found, yet botched them two times, according to an interview with family members.[44] Part of the issues were bureaucratic hurdles, with authorities putting a stop to the samples being sent to Australia for analysis, according to the family. When apprehended a third time for DNA samples, the family refused to cooperate. Then how was the body identified? Details remain fragmented, at least within the public domain.“ [45] [End of quote]

In December 2020 the NFA officer responsible of handling the DNA samples at the time was approached on behalf of the APO. He promised to disclose files related to the case. When he was met in January 2021 for that purpose he refused, saying his ‘boss’ prohibited him from doing so, based on a compensation payment that had been made to the Lasisi family.

According to an interview conducted with police officer Andrew Wilfred in November 2020, the criminal investigation was never closed and one of the crew members testified to have seen the murder conducted by three Filipino crew members but was initially too scared to speak in court. In an interview conducted with the crew member in question similar allegations were made by the crew member. Based on his changed statements the witness testified to have witnessed three crew to have murdered Lasisi. The witness stated in said interview to have given their names and his revised testimony to the public prosecutor in Port Moresby back in 2010. Unfortunately, no further indictment has been brought forward and the case continues to be mired in murky circumstances.


Tabuia Tekaie(Kiribati) – 03 December 2009

In the course of researching the circumstances surrounding  Eritara Aatii’s case, APO discovered this additional observer death. The manner in which the investigations were handled sadly find their echo in how investigations were conducted related to Eritara’s death. Crucial forensic evidence had been wiped clean and the vessel allowed to sail away without the investigations having been closed, [49] similar to what had happened in Eritara’s case with his belongings and the Win Far 636. 

Tabuia Tekaie was 27 years old when he was serving as observer for the Kiribati MFMRD on board the vessel Sajo Accordio, a Korean-flagged vessel, that has since changed flags from Korea to Kiribati and its name changed to Mamautari. It was reported by Stuff New Zealand [50] and by the New Zealand Police that “Tebuia Tekaie, an apparently healthy 27-year-old male observer on the Korean vessel Sajo Accordio, was found dead in his bunk by one of the ship’s 23 crew members”  and that the investigation was marred with unprofessional conduct by Kiribati officials from the start.  Although the Kiribati Government made a request to the Government of New Zealand to help with the investigation into his death, Detective Senior Sergeant Jill Rogers was provided little support by the Kiribati authorities, when she arrived in Kiribati to investigate whether foul play had led to the observers’ death. The detective had to rely on a local bus for traveling to the relevant port where the Sajo Accordio lay offshore and an inflatable boat to reach the vessel and recover the corpse, since the “police boat was not available as the fuel allowance for the month had been used up.” 

To make matters worse, the detective found out that the body of the observer was dropped into the sea before their arrival, further contaminating the evidence.  The captain, keen to start fishing again and therefore anxious to comply with the requests of his superiors, had already made one attempt to unload the body to maritime police. Unfortunately, as the crate was winched from one boat to another, it went into the sea.” This hasn’t been the only evidence however, which had been contaminated. “Following his death, the dead man’s cabin had been made ship-shape. It was scrupulously clean; no fingerprints or forensic evidence of any sort was available. “Nor for that matter was there any forensic capability in Kiribati to take or test it,” according to detective Jill Rogers.  APO learned later that his phone was scrubbed clean as well.  His wife reported:

“As I looked over his phone to see any photos of him. I’m very sad to see that there was nothing left inside the phone. He also mentioned to me when he was back from the first trip that some of the reports about fishing are all recorded in his phone – that’s why he always not allowing me to take the phone.”

When the body was eventually flown to New Zealand and underwent an autopsy, the New Zealand authorities concluded that Tabua Tekaie had died of ‘hypertension’ and his body was returned to his family.     

WCPFC barely reported the incident in their quarterly report: “Unfortunately during theFAD closure period there was a bereavement of a Kiribati national observer carrying out duties for the ROP.  At the time of his passing away the observer, Mr. Tekaie Tabuia, was carrying out duties on board a Korean purse seine vessel. Condolences to the family of the observer were sent by the Executive Director on behalf of the Commission.” [59]  

The family filed two  lawsuits against the Ministry of Marine Fisheries and Resource Development (MFMRD). [60], [61] MFMRD attempted to get out of paying Mr. Tekaie’s family Workmen’s Compensation by claiming he did not have a written contract and thus was ineligible for Workmen’s Compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance. [62] However the court ruled in his widow’s favor, citing Section 2 of the Employment Ordinance, Cap 30, [63] where it states that a “contract of employment’ means any contract, whether oral or in writing whether express or implied to employ or to serve as an employee”, concluding that this provision clearly stated “that in law an oral contract is also binding.” [64]


Estelle Laberge(Canada) – Dec 16-17, 1990

F/V Nadine. Biologist Estelle Laberge, was on an observer mission for the Maurice-Lamontagne Institute in Mont-Joli (Quebéc) on board the fishing trawler Le Nadine, when the vessel shipwrecked on the night of 16 December 1990. [46] Only 2 people from 10 persons on board survived the ships’ sinking. [47], [48]


Observer Deaths – Known causes


Jay Alderman(USA) – 19 September 2007
F/V Westward I, North Pacific. Fell in the water and drowned while attempting to re-board his vessel.


Jay Howell(USA) – 1 January 1997
Jay was an observer trainee in the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program.  He died of exposure in Anchorage, AK. Jay’s body was found in April 1998 in Cook Inlet. 


Robert W. McCord(USA) – 22 March 1990
Robert W. McCord was a 35 year old National Marine Fisheries Service observer on the F/V Aleutian Enterprise, who died when the ship capsized due to neglect of safety measures covered by the Fishing Safety Law, according to Seattletimes. [65] As reported on Alaska Shipwrecks “Alaska Commercial Fishing and Other Maritime Losses of 1990” , “The 162 foot Aleutian Enterprise capsized and sank while hauling in a cod end 60 miles south of St Paul Island. 22 crewmembers were rescued by other fishing vessels. [66]


Wendell Cullet(Canada) – December, 1983
Newfoundland – Drowned while making an at-sea transfer and the dory he was in capsized.


[1]    WCPFC, ‘Authorised ROP Observer Providers | WCPFC’, WCPFC, 2021 <> [accessed 21 January 2021].

[2]   The APO obtained a copy of Eritara’s SUP-Form through a trusted source, who requested to remain anonymous.

[3]   The APO obtained partial copies of Eritara’s journals and logs through a trusted source, who requested to remain anonymous.

[4]    HRAS, ‘REPORT: Fisheries Observer Deaths at Sea, Human Rights and the Role and Responsibilities of Fisheries Organisations – Human Rights at Sea’, HRAS (Havant, 2020), pp. 1–60 <> [accessed 11 August 2020].

[5]    Andrea Vance, ‘Death on the High Seas; the Mysterious Death of a Humble Fishing Observer | Stuff.Co.Nz’, Stuff, 2020 <> [accessed 12 April 2020].

[6]    MRAG, Review of the IATTC Regional Observer Programme Covering the Period January 1, 2018-February 26, 2019, 2019 < 1 MRAG Americas Program to monitor transshipments at sea.pdf> [accessed 28 August 2020].

[7]    Mona Samari, ‘How Ghana’s Weak Penalties Are Letting Trawlers off the Hook’, Chinadialogueocean.Net, 2019 <> [accessed 22 January 2021].

[8]    Ibid.

[9]    Karen McVeigh and Nancy Dzradosi, ‘The Vanishing: Ghana’s Defenders Face New Perils in Fight against Overfishing | Environment | The Guardian’, Theguardian, 2019 <> [accessed 22 January 2021].

[10] Ibid

[11] Emefa Dzradosi, ‘Saiko: The Observers Are Missing – MyJoyOnline.Com’, Myjoyonline.Com, 2020 <> [accessed 22 January 2021].

[12] Ibid.

[13] Redaccion, ‘40 Días de Angustia Para Familiares de Biólogo Que Desapareció En Altamar | El Comercio’, Elcomercio, 2018 <> [accessed 23 January 2021].

[14] ManabiNoticias, ‘Llegó a Manabí Embarcación Donde Desapareció Biólogo Edison Valencia – Diario Digital Manabí Noticias’, Manabinoticias, 2018 <> [accessed 23 January 2021].

[15] Redaccion, ‘40 Días de Angustia Para Familiares de Biólogo Que Desapareció En Altamar | El Comercio’, Elcomercio, 2018 <> [accessed 23 January 2021].

[16] Gobierno de Ecuador, ‘Personas Desaparecidas’, Desaparecidosecuador, 2018 <> [accessed 23 January 2021].

[17] Redaccion.

[18] TodosSomosEdison, ‘(20+) Todos Somos Edison | Facebook’, Facebook, 2019 <> [accessed 23 January 2021].

[19] Redaccion.

[20] Andrea Vance, ‘Death on the High Seas; the Mysterious Death of a Humble Fishing Observer | Stuff.Co.Nz’, Stuff, 2020 <> [accessed 12 April 2020].

[21] Jeffrey Elapa, ‘Missing without a Trace – Post Courier’, Postcourier, 2018 <> [accessed 2 September 2020].

[22] WCPFC, ‘Conservation and Management Measure for the Protection of WCPFC Regional Observer Programme Observers | WCPFC’, WCPFC, 2017 <> [accessed 19 August 2020].

[23] USCG After Action Report obtained by the APO. 000163-USCG-After-Action-Report-UM.pdf

[24] Final Anatomical Diagnosis (Autopsy Face Sheet), Gonzales, Dr Amor, 21 June 2016. Usaia Autopsy Report_Final Anatomical Diagnosis-11012017154039.pdf

[25] Ewell, C., Hocevar, J., Mitchell, E., Snowden, S., and Jacquet, J. 2020.  An evaluation of Regional Fisheries Management Organization at-sea compliance monitoring and observer programs.  Marine Policy, 115, 103842 <>;
Raymond Sigimet, ‘Fishing’s Dark Side: The Cases of Missing NFA Observers – Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG ATTITUDE’, PNG Attitude, 2019 <> [accessed 2 September 2020];
Joyce R, Anderson R, van Boven R Bale P, ‘Updated: Murder and Abuse – the Price of Your Sashimi – WikiTribune’, Wikitribune, 2017 <> [accessed 2 September 2020];
Peni Komaisavai and Samantha Magick, ‘Keeping Our Seafarers Safe’, Islandsbusiness, 2019 <> [accessed 25 January 2021].

[26] Ewell, et al; Sigimet, R; Bale, P; Komaisavai, P. and Magick, S.

[27] Sigimet, R.

[28] UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT and EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA, ‘Sheldon v. C & C Fishery LLC and Riverside Technologies Inc. Submitted in 2017. Seaman’s Original Petition for Damages: Judicial District Court for the Parrish of Orleans, State of Louisiana.’, APO, 2017 <> [accessed 26 January 2021].

[29] Kurt J. Heinz and others, ‘Observer Safety Program Review Report | NOAA Fisheries’, NOAA, 2017 <> [accessed 26 January 2021].

[30] IATTC, ‘Vessel Details Chung Kuo No.818’, IATTC, 2021 <> [accessed 26 January 2021].

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