Image: Seized fishing vessel
U.S. Coast Guard
The Bangun Perkasa is seen on Sept. 9 as it was intercepted by the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Munro.
updated 9/30/2011 5:47:32 PM ET 2011-09-30T21:47:32

A vessel detained on suspicion of illegal fishing was being escorted to Alaska but it won't be docking right away — a severe rat infestation aboard means it will have to be cleaned up first.

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U.S. Coast Guard crew who boarded the Bangun Perkasa found 30 tons of squid, some 30 shark carcasses and 10 miles of high seas drift net, a type of fishing banned internationally because it hauls up marine life indiscriminately, from birds to sea turtles and even whales.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro also found a "severe infestation" of rats living with the 22 crew, Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis tells

"As a precaution the vessel will be held offshore of Dutch Harbor" for up to a week "while the rat population aboard the vessel is eradicated," Francis adds. "Once the rats are dealt with, the vessel will be brought into port."

Indonesia denied the crew's claim that the ship was registered there. The crew will eventually be sent back to their home countries.

If identified, the ship's owners could face penalties up to $125,000.

"This method of fishing is illegal, despicable and shows complete disregard for the world's ecosystem," Capt. Gregory Sanial, a Coast Guard enforcement chief, said in a statement.

The ship and crew were expected to arrive offshore of Dutch Harbor on Saturday morning.

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