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Navy set to tackle illegal, unregulated fishing in Nigeria

The Nigerian Navy (NN) on
Tuesday said that it had concluded plans with the Federal Department of Fisheries
to acquire dedicated vessels to deal with the problem of illegal, unregulated
and unreported fishing in Nigeria’s maritime domain.

The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice
Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, disclosed this in Lagos at the ongoing three-day Senior
Leadership Symposium.

Ibas was represented by the Naval Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral
Beegroy Ibe-Enwo.

Comprising naval forces of 31 countries,
including 20 African navies and 11 foreign countries, the event was part of the
2019 Obangame Express, hosted by the US Naval Forces Africa (US NAVAF).

Ibas expressed satisfaction
that the collaborative efforts between the navy, the maritime stakeholders and
the regional forces was yielding desired results as the navy arrested only 30
vessels in 2018, compared to the 37 and 45 vessels arrested in 2016 and 2017

He said the Nigerian Navy had as of December
2018, handed over 247 cases to prosecuting agencies such as the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence
Corps (NSCDC), of which 51 had been successfully prosecuted.

“What is even more disturbing is that many of
the activities associated with the evolving threat scenario are directed at the
economic lifeline of both littoral and land-locked member states.

“In other words, the scourge of various forms
of illegalities, such as sea robbery, piracy, crude oil theft, poaching, human
and illicit trafficking of weapons and drugs among others constitute serious
challenges to the development of all countries in our region.

“In prosecuting these threatening factors,
the periodic assessment of the efforts is a credible tool. Accordingly, the
interrogation of the implementation level of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, a
major regional framework for maritime security, is unarguably overdue at over
six years of existence.

“As maritime insecurity progressively assumes
transnational character, trans-border cooperation increasingly becomes the sine
qua non in the mitigation of illicit maritime activities.

“The NN also engages regularly with
stakeholders and has taken measures to enhance law enforcement within the
maritime domain. One positive outcome of such consultation is the launch of the
Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (HSOP) on Arrest, Detention and
Prosecution of Vessels and Persons (HSOP AD&P) in Nigeria’s Maritime
Environment in January 2017.

“Further to the launch, the NN constantly
engages with the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation
(HAGF) on modalities for implementation while stakeholders meetings with
private maritime logistic support companies and the oil and gas sub-sector are
convened periodically.

“These engagements foster a shared vision on
the accomplishment of maritime security tasks leading to the successful
prosecution of 51 maritime crime related cases or about 20 per cent of the 247
cases which the NN handed over to prosecuting agencies such as EFCC and NSCDC
as at December 2018.

“The NN’s seamless collaboration with related
agencies has helped to create effective deterrence to criminals through the
arrest and prosecution of various criminals.

“Within the past three years, over 80 errant
vessels have been arrested for various acts of illegality. MT TECNE and MT
NIPAL were caught in the act stealing crude oil from the crude oil loading
facilities in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“Suffice to state that the NN arrested a
total of 30 vessels in 2018 for involvement in various forms of illegality in
the nation’s maritime domain. This indicates on the face value a downward trend
when compared with 37 and 45 arrests recorded in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“These arrests have served as deterrence and
helped to support a more buoyant national economy. For instance, NNPC data
indicate that crude oil losses from pipelines reduced from N51.28 billion in
2015 to N4.17 billion in 2017.”

Ibas acknowledged the contributions of the United States, the
United Kingdom and France to sustainable collaboration both on the domestic and
regional fronts.

This Day

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