Piqued by the manner at which foreign trawlers get away with illegal and irresponsible fishing in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG), the Nigerian Navy has affirmed that Nigeria and other member countries may be dealing with international conspiracy.
Hence, Maritime stakeholders from about 70 countries at the Global Maritime Security Conference, agreed that GOG states and the international community should put in place mechanisms that would ensure that resources that are illegally harvested or explored including stolen oil, and illegal fishery are internationally banned as the case of blood diamonds.
A communiqué issued at the end of the 3-day Global conference, yesterday, in Abuja, also stressed the need for GOG states to explore the possibility of designated maritime court to handle cases of sea robbery, piracy, and other maritime offences.The move, according to them, would ensure quick dispensation of cases, adding that they should also sensitise and build capacity of the judiciary on crucial relevant legislation.
The representative of the Chief of Naval staff, Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Ensor, while briefing journalists, said the Navy is also suspicious of the international conspiracy against African countries, and encouraged international communities to discourage their own people from participating in this kind of illegality. He said: “and that is why one of the recommendations clearly stated that we should designate it same status as blood diamond; maybe blood fish or bad fish.”
Affirming that the Nigerian Navy is incapacitated to effectively police the nation’s territorial waters given the large expanse, he said to improve surveillance they require ships, and maybe helicopters to sail out to sea and use their radar to see what is going on there. He added that beyond seeing what is going on at the sea, they are also not able to deploy ships and helicopters to effect arrest.
“It’s a work in progress; more ships are being bought by the government. Some other levels of collaborations even the fishery department is coming on board fully. To this extent, the Fishery Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, had acquired two ships to be dedicated for anti-fishery operations.”