Global Maritime Stakeholders Move to Classify Illegal Fishing as Blood Diamond

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Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas - Chief of Naval Staff PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (PMB)

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

Stakeholders from 70 countries had called on the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) countries and the international community to put in place mechanisms that would ensure that resources that are illegally harvested or explored from the GOG states, including stolen oil and illegal fishery, would be banned internationally like the case of blood diamonds.

In a communique issued at the end of three-day Global Maritime Security Conference which ended yesterday in Abuja, the stakeholders stressed the need for GOG states to explore possibility of designated maritime court to handle cases of sea robbery, piracy and other maritime offenses.

The move, according to the delegates to the conference, would ensure quick dispensation of cases.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral, Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, while briefing journalists, said the Nigerian Navy is also suspicious of the international conspiracy against African countries.

Ibas affirmed that the Nigerian Navy is incapacitated to effectively police the large expanse of Nigeria’s territorial. He observed that improving surveillance on Nigeria’s territorial waters would require ships and helicopters that would use their radars to see what is going on there

According to the naval chief, who was represented by Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Ensor: “It is a work in progress. More ships are being bought by the government and some other levels of collaborations are coming on board fully. The fishery department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture had acquired two ships to be dedicated for anti-fishery operations.”

Ibas pointed out that any of the Nigerian courts could be designated to hear maritime offenses rather than establishing new courts for that purpose.