Following rising cases of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing in the country, plans have been concluded by the Nigerian Navy (NN) and the Federal Department of Fisheries for the acquisition of dedicated vessels to contain the trend.
This was disclosed by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas during an interview at the ongoing Senior Leadership Symposium in Lagos.
Ibas, who was represented by the Naval Chief of Policy and Plans Rear Admiral Beegroy Ibe-Enwo at the three-day event introduced as part of the 2019 OBANGAME Express, said the navy was having closer relationship with the Fisheries Department for a more formidable front.
Acknowledging the worsening security situation in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), Ibas noted collaboration between the navy, maritime stakeholders in the country and regional forces were addressing the issues.
He added that 30 vessels were arrested last year, an improvement on the 37 and 45 arrests recorded in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
He said the NN had as of last December handed over 247 cases to prosecuting agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) of which 51 had been successfully prosecuted.
“The NN’s seamless collaboration with related agencies has helped to create effective deterrence to criminals through the arrest and prosecution of various criminals.
“Within the past three years, over 80 errant vessels have been arrested for various acts of illegality. MT TECNE and MT NIPAL were caught in the act stealing crude oil from the crude oil loading facilities in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
“Suffice to state that the NN arrested a total of 30 vessels in 2018 for involvement in various forms of illegality in the nation’s maritime domain.
“This indicates on the face value a downward trend when compared with 37 and 45 arrests recorded in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
“These arrests have served as deterrence and helped to support a more buoyant national economy. For instance, NNPC data indicate that crude oil losses from pipelines reduced from N51.28 billion in 2015 to N4.17 billion in 2017,” said Ibas.
On the international front, he acknowledged the contributions of allied nations including the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK) and France for their footprints of support which have been eloquent towards encouraging and bolstering domestic and regional collaboration in practical terms and on sustainable basis.
Commending the US Naval Forces Africa (US NAVAF) for hosting the symposium, Ibas said there could not have been a better time for regional partners to talk than while the joint sea exercise was ongoing.