The (not so) perfect crime

American fishing captain Linda Greenlaw, best known for her depiction in the book “The Perfect Storm” and the film on which it was based, has been convicted of illegally entering and fishing in Canadian waters.

Greenlaw and her boat the Sea Hawk was spotted by a Canadian fisheries patrol plane last September, with fishing lines running five miles (roughly eight kilometres) into Canadian waters.

According to Greenlaw, she had mistakenly entered Canadian waters without realising it while searching for swordfish.

“This line, which is drawn on a piece of paper, you can’t see it when you’re fishing and working on deck,” Greenlaw said outside the provincial court of St. John’s. “There’s no fence. There’s no blinking lights.”

Judge Joe Woodrow said he believed that Greenlaw had made an honest mistake, but that it was a mistake a reasonable skipper would not have made, because she should have checked her GPS equipment. Greenlaw was therefore convicted on counts of illegally entering Canadian waters and illegally fishing there.

The Crown wants Greenlaw to be fined $50,000, while her lawyer is recommending half of that amount.

Greenlaw provided key information about a fatal 1991 storm in the Atlantic for the book “The Perfect Storm” by journalist Sebastian Junger. When the book was turned into a movie starring George Cloney and Mark Wahlberg, Greenlaw was portrayed by actor Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.