Never-Ending Voyages: Vessels Spending Years at Sea - Oceana USA

Report | June, 2024

Never-Ending Voyages: Vessels Spending Years at Sea


According to a new Oceana analysis, fishing vessels are venturing further to remote locations and staying out at sea for long periods of time in search of valuable catch, like tuna or squid. Oceana’s investigation found nearly 3,000 fishing vessels spent over six months at sea during 2023, with some vessels avoiding port for more than two years. Lengthy fishing voyages can be a risk indicator of seafood sourced from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activity or forced labor. 

Oceana’s analysis also shows vessels engaging in thousands of potential encounter events with other vessels known as transshipment. Transshipment occurs when fishing vessels meet with refrigerated cargo ships at sea to transfer their catch instead of coming into port, which can hide illicit activity by mixing legal and illegal catches. Crew members can also be exchanged during transshipment events, which is cause for major concern around forced labor practices. While not illegal, transshipment is often an additional risk factor associated with IUU activity. 

Read the report here. 

Media Contacts:

  • Cory Gunkel, +1.228.760.3003,
  • Megan Jordan, +1.703.401.3004,