Chief of Naval Staff: Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas

By Sampson Boroh

Operatives of the Nigerian Navy have arrested 56 persons including three Ghanaians and four fishing trawlers for illegal fishing activities along the Brass River in the Niger Delta.

The arrested suspects have been handed over to the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture for possible prosecution by the federal government.

They were arrested by the Forward Operating Base (FORMOSO) of the Nigerian Navy in Brass.

Presenting the suspects to the officials of the agency, the commanding officer of FORMOSO, Capt. Suleiman Ibrahim said the 52 persons were crew members of the four arrested vessels identified as ‘Star Shrimpers 3, Cosmos 1, Trade wind and ORC VII respectively.

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Ibrahim said the cordial collaboration between the Navy under the Federal Ministry of defence, the Federal Department of fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture and rural development is yielding positive results.

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He submitted that just few days ago two vessels with crew members were also handed over for trespassing the restricted zones, adding that the law states clearly that fishing trawlers were not allowed to fish within the five nautical miles restricted zone.

According to him, “The Navy detected the illegal activities of these four fishing vessels with the use of maritime domain awareness equipment trawling within the 5 nautical miles restricted zones, and we thereafter deployed to intercept them.

“Precisely on the 24th of this month, we handed over two fishing trawlers for fishing with the 5 nautical miles restricted zone, equally the same scenario is happening again, four fishing trawlers were also arrested for the same offense and they tracked and we intercepted them.

“And I believe with this existing collaboration and partnership with other government agencies, they’ll be able to educate the companies more on the need to avoid the restricted areas to avoid crisis with local fisher men.

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Receiving the suspects, Assistant Director and Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Mr. Popoola Babatunde, said the vessels dropped within the non- trawling zones which are restricted areas for canoe fishermen.

He noted that appropriate action will be taken against them if found capable.

Captain Emilola Tebiti, of vessel ORC Vii and his counterpart Captain Matthew Hamusa, of vessel Star shrimpers 3, accepted their charges but argued that their raider and GPRS while trawling showed they were not within the restricted areas.


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