Another Legal Action Taken to Stop Seafood Imports Tied to the Investigation
On November 16, 2023, a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. filed a legal petition with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) asking the agency to stop all squid from entering the country tied to the Wei Yu 18, a Chinese distant water squid fishing vessel identified in an investigation conducted by The Outlaw Ocean Project. Fadhil, a young Indonesian man, worked on this ship in the months before his death.
The organization that filed the petition, known as a Withhold Release Order (WRO) petition, is the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, which, according to its website, advocates for strong enforcement of the law to protect the public from corporate abuse. The relevant law that the organization is using is Section 307 of the United States Tariff Act of 1930, which prohibits the importation of all goods produced wholly or in part abroad by forced or prison labor.
The basis of the recent WRO petition is the investigation and, specifically, its revelations of a wide pattern of environmental and human rights concerns across the Chinese distant-water squid fishing fleet. The petition filed on November 16, 2023 is focused on the Wei Yu 18. Among the types of evidence that the petition cites from the investigation are recruitment contracts and payment records, phone and Whatsapp interviews with Indonesian crewmembers on the vessel, supply-chain tracing, and eyewitness accounts of abuse on the vessel. The investigation found that the Wei Yu 18 used forced labor of Indonesian migrant workers to harvest squid.