Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom state has arrested 14 fishermen and impounded their vessel for illegal fishing in the state.
Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday while handing over the suspects to the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Calabar the commanding officer of the base Capt Uche Aneke, disclosed that the alleged fishermen comprised of 4 Ghananians and 10 Nigerians.
Aneke noted that the suspects were arrested within 5 nautical miles in Calabar Channel on Monday, Nov. 27th for engaging in illegal trawling activities.
He added that the vessel was seized within the Calabar channel, where they were actively engaged in illegal trawling within the channel, which is prohibited by the fishery laws.
“Sequel to the interception and arrest of the fishing trawler MFT LAMU 1, with registration number LA799, on Monday, Nov. 27th, for illegal trawling.
According to him, the arrest of MFT LAMU 1 took place on Monday, by 3: 45p.m within the Calabar channel, where the vessel was actively engaged in illegal trawling activities within the Calabar channel.
Aneke explained that the suspects were duly informed not to disembark from the vessel while armed sentries were assigned onboard for security.
“This incident came to light after a report from the Eastern Regional Control Center (ERCC), Calabar on Monday, Nov. 27th, indicating that MFT LAMU 1 had been involved in illegal fishing activities within 5 nautical miles offshore the Calabar channel, within FOB Ibaka’s Area of Operation,” he said.
He said that FOB under the Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility (AOR), remained committed to upholding Nigeria’s maritime laws and ensuring the sustainability of our coastal waters for national development, in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff’s strategic directives.
Receiving the suspects, Mrs Stella Auforo, fisheries officer at the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Calabar, thanked the Nigerian Navy for securing the maritime waters.
She said the department would further investigate the suspects and take appropriate actions.
“The Federal Department of Fisheries will take further action in line with provisions of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP) on Arrest Detention and Prosecution of Vessels and Persons in Nigeria’s Maritime Environment, 2016,” she said.