Navy Hands Over Three Illegal Fishing Trawlers, Crew Members to Dept. of Fisheries

Navy Hands Over Three Illegal Fishing Trawlers, Crew Members to Dept. of Fisheries

Olusegun Samuel in Yenagoa

As its clampdown on illegal fishing activities in Nigeria intensifies in the coastlines of Brass and other territorial waters, the Nigerian Navy’s Forward Operating Base (FOB), Formoso, yesterday handed over three fishing trawlers and their crew members to the Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF), in Bayelsa.

The trawlers, named MFVs BARNALY III and OLOKUN V, were arrested on January 22, 2024, while fishing within the prohibited areas reserved for artisanal fishermen around Sangana Oilfield without operating their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).

Relatedly, another trawler, CYNTHIA, was arrested on January 24, 2024, around Fish Town River while trawling without operating her AIS.

The handing over was held at a brief ceremony at the FORMOSO operating base at Egwema, Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and performed by the Commanding Officer, Captain Murtala Rogo, who was represented by the Base Operation Officer, Lt. Commander Haruna Ranga.

Speaking during the handover, the commanding officer explained that these acts violated the Sea Fisheries Act of 1992, adding that these maritime infractions amongst others would not be tolerated by the Nigerian Navy.

“Let me also add that the Nigerian Navy will not relent in its effort towards policing and enforcement of maritime laws.

“To this end, I wish to advice all Mariners to be law abiding as they engage the Nigerian maritime domain,” he said.

The commanding officer noted that the Nigerian Navy would not tolerate any act of maritime infractions in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea at large.

He said: “Pertinently, fishing companies and agents must pay particular attention to the instructions in Form B issued to them by the FDF as license and same must be communicated and understood by the vessel crew to avoid any form of infringement on the state law therein.”

The officer said the Nigerian Navy, under the leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ikechuchwu Ogalla, is determined to ensure that Nigerian maritime domain remained secured and safe for all legitimate businesses to thrive towards building a strong nation.

Meanwhile, Rear Admiral John Okeke, have assumed duty as the new Joint Task Force Commander, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), with a promise of building on what his predecessor have done.

He stated this on Thursday, during the handover ceremony at the headquarters of the OPDS in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State’s capital.

The new commander took over from Rear Admiral Olusegun Ferreira, who has been moved to Abuja, as the Chief of Training and Operations.

Until his posting as the new JTF Commander OPDS, Okeke, was the Chief Staff Officer, Central Naval Command.

While thanking the outgoing commander for his leadership style, Okeke assured the public that he would only add a proactive driven effort to curb all forms of criminalities and their networks.

One of these strategies, he explained, is strengthening the synergy and coercion among the various units, components and formations of the task force.

In his remarks, Rear Admiral Olusegun Ferreira, the immediate past commander, said that the operation under his command has destroyed and dislodged major militant camps in the Niger Delta, thereby boosting security in the region.

Ferreira said that the relative peace in the command had greatly increased crude oil production index of the country, which has risen remarkably.

According to him, the increase is due to the serious checks against oil pipeline vandalism in the region.

He said that the mandate of the OPDS is very clear that is to deter crude oil theft and all forms of criminality in the Niger Delta.

The outgoing commander said that the entire task is on daily basis, urging the troops to remain resolute and determined as they carry out their operations.

Related Articles