A senior official in Sao Tome and Principe says a court in the West African island nation has convicted the Chilean captain and two Spanish crew members of a ship investigated for years by Interpol for illegal fishing.

Frederique Samba Viegas D*Abreu, attorney general of the former Portuguese colony, told The Associated Press Wednesday a court found the men guilty of crimes against nature, forging documents, polluting the sea and dangerous piloting of a vessel.

He said the men were sentenced Monday to up to three years in prison or a fine of 5 million euros ($5.7 million) each. The court found they intentionally sank their vessel, the Thunder, off Sao Tome in April when they feared capture.

Interpol said the convictions are "a major success" in fighting illegal fishing.