NNS Delta Arrests, Hands Over Fishing Vessel, 15 Suspects to Regulators

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS DELTA), Warri yesterday handed over 15 suspects including a Ghanaian and a fishing vessel to the regulators of fishing trollers in the country.

The Merchant Fishing Vessel (MVF) Lily IV was intercepted by operatives of the NNS Delta in Forcados in Burutu Local Government area of Delta State for alleged illegal entry into the Maritime Exclusion Zone of Forcados Oil Terminal Crude Loading Platform.

Commander NNS Delta, Commodore Abba Muhsin, while handing over the suspects to officials of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Edo State for further investigations, said the vessel and the suspects were apprehended by a private security firm with Navy personnel aboard.

Executive Officer of the NNS Delta, Navy Captain Solomon Paul, who represented the Commander Muhsin at the handing over ceremony at the Navy Base Jetty, Warri,  said the vessel and crew were intercepted on March 11 this year.

He said that the vessel with the suspects onboard was apprehended for alleged illegal entry into the Maritime Exclusion Zone of the Forcados Oil Terminal Crude Loading Platform.

“We are here to hand over MFV Lily IV and 15 suspects comprising 14 Nigerians and one Ghanaian. On March 11, 2024, MV Kingston, a private maritime security company vessel belonging to the Ocean Marine Services (OMS) contracted by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Nigeria Limited.

“With the Nigerian Navy personnel onboard intercepted and arrested a Merchant Fishing Vessel, Lily IV. The vessel was consequently taken under custody by the Forward Operation Base (FOB), Escravos for investigation on March 13.

“While the preliminary investigation revealed that there was insufficient evidence to prove that MFV Lily IV entered legally the Maritime Exclusion Zone of the Forcados Oil Terminal Crude Loading Platform.

“The investigation also revealed that two of the crew members were not registered on the vessel’s manifest,” he said.

Commodore Muhsin warned mariners to desist from violating the maritime laws within the nation’s territorial waterways stressing that any defaulter would be sanctioned accordingly.

He said that the arrest was one of the series of actions by the Nigerian Navy aimed at keeping the Nigeria waters safe for better navigation and commercial activities.

The naval boss said that the NNS Delta remained resolute in freeing it’s Area of Operation from all forms of illegalities which according to him was part of the ‘Navy’s coast guard function toward nation building.

Commodore Muhsin, however, thanked all the government agencies and good spirited members of the society who had supported their operations to rid the maritime domain of illegalities.

An Assistant Director, Department of Fishery, Ministry of Agriculture, Edo, Mr. Iwanegbe America, while receiving the vessel and the suspects, commended the Navy for the good job.

“I am receiving the vessel and the suspects from the Navy. They have done a good job. The Department of Fishery will take further step and they may face prosecutions,” America said.

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