Nigerian Navy Ship Ekulu has arrested two fishing vessels suspected to be engaging in illegal fishing without a valid licence to do so.
It was learnt that after been Intercepted and interrogated, it was discovered that the trawlers had licence for shrimps only.
The vessels were subsequently boarded and confirmed to have large quantities of fish onboard in spite of their license to shrimp only.
Disclosing the arrest, the Command Information Officer, (CINFO) Western Naval Command, Commander Patricia Ochei on Thursday explained that the flag off of the operation has be yielding positive results as the presence of NN ships at sea have continued to deter intending perpetrators and arrest of suspected maritime offenders.
According to the CINFO, the Nigerian Navy Ship EKULU about 0400hrs on Tuesday, 28 November, 2023 while on patrol along the Badagry axis of Lagos intercepted and interrogated two suspicious fishing trawlers TAURARO and STARSHRIMPER 29.
The arrest followed the ongoing Exercise EJA EXPRESSION which was recently flagged off by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command Apapa Rear Admiral Mustapha Bala Hassan aimed at horning personnel skills on how to curb economic crimes such as illegal fishing in our waters.
“The exercise was to practice personnel procedure and processes of enforcing fisheries laws in Nigeria’s maritime environment to ensure the fleet better able to perform the responsibility of deterring IUU fishing and other illegalities.
“This is in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla Strategic Directive towards, promoting effective Ocean and maritime governance for a thriving Blue Economy.
Essentially, IUU fishing is a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystem and sustainable fishing. In addition, it threatens our economic security and natural resources that are critical to global food security, while also putting legitimate businesses at risk.
With the blue economy in mind, Admiral Hassan said that the Command and indeed the NN has zero tolerance for any form of illegality at sea and calls on perpetrators to desist from such acts as the NN will not hesitate to go after them and see that they are prosecuted for their crimes.