By Shedrack Frank
The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base in Bayelsa on Friday handed over 11 crew members and one fishing trawler to the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
The crew members and the trawler, MV TRADE WIND, were apprehended on Aug. 6, off Brass waters in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The Commanding Officer of the Base, Capt. Muhammed Alhassan, said those arrested were10 Nigerians and a Ghanaian.
He said the mariner had switched off their Automatic Identification System and violated the no trawling zone of 5NM from shoreline.
The commanding officer urged all mariners to be law abiding as they carry out their activities within the Nigerian maritime environment.
“All mariners and their agents must be aware that the Nigerian Navy has the capacity to track any vessel within the Nigerian waters up to Exclusive Economic Zone through the FALCON EYE and RMAC system.
“So, mariners are warned to keep their automatic identification and communication system operational, as switching it off constitutes a violation of the Nigerian maritime law,” he added.
Alhassan said that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, had directed all Nigerian Navy operational units to strictly monitor all vessels and ensure compliance to maritime laws.
“The Nigerian Navy will not spare any offender that violates any of these laws within Nigeria’s maritime domain.
“Today, I hereby hand over MV TRADE WIND to the representative of the federal department of fisheries for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.
Responding, Mr Are Taiwo, Principal Fishery Officer, Monitoring and Enforcement Unit in Lagos Office, said the mariner would be investigated and prosecuted if found guilty.
He commended the Navy for safeguarding Nigeria’s maritime domain. (NAN)
Edited by Chidi Opara/Maharazu Ahmed