The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka in the Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has arrested thirteen Nigerians and four Ghanaians over illegal fishing.
The Navy also impounded the vessel named, MFV TOKE II used by the suspects.
The Base Operating Officer, Commander Daniel Onyemaeze, disclosed this while handing over the suspects and the vessel to the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture on Wednesday.
He explained that the Navy received an intelligence report on Tuesday, January 23, at about 7:45 in the morning alerting of illegal trawling activities within two nautical miles of Nigerian continental shelf.
“As at the time of arrest, MFV TOKE II had 17 crew with 13 Nigerians and 4 Ghanaians borne onboard and was laden with 150 bags of fish, 100 packs of shrimps and 20 loosed fishes in her two cold rooms all gotten from illicit trawling activities,” Onyemaeze said.
He said investigations revealed that the vessel departed Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) commandant jetty Kirikiri, Lagos state for fishing activities on 29th of November 2023, and had spent a total of 55 days at sea at the time she was interdicted by the naval patrol boat.
“However, during her operations, it was observed through her own surveillance that she had engaged in illicit fishing activities and was consequently arrested. In view of the aforementioned, the Base was directed by naval headquarters to hand over the vessel to the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.
Receiving the suspects and the vessel, an officer of the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Calabar, Stella Anuforo, thanked the Nigerian Navy for securing the maritime environment.
She said the department would further investigate the suspects and take necessary actions.