BAYELSA (Sundiata Post) – The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) Formoso has apprehended a fishing trawler and its 14-member crew, including two Indians, for violating the Sea Fisheries Act along the Brass coastline in Bayelsa State.
The arrested trawler, ‘MFV Seven Stars’, and its 14 crew members have been handed over to the Federal Department of Fisheries, while the two Indians were handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service.
Also, white substances found in the trawler was handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Bayelsa State Command, for further investigations.
Speaking during the hand over at the Forward Operating Base in Egwema, Brass local government area, the Commanding Officer, Capt Murtala Aminu Rogo, disclosed that the trawler was arrested on November 29, 2023.
Represented by the Executive Officer of the bases, Commander Dantani Ishaku Bukar, Rogo gave the identities of the two Indians as Mr Suresha Dogra and Mr Punnakal Francis Xavier.
He added that such maritime infractions would not be tolerated by the Navy, both on Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea at large.
According to him, preliminary investigation by the base revealed that the captain falsely declared 12-member crew on board as against 14, while the additional two crew were discovered to be there illegally. The two Indians on board were also without their passport.
He said, “Let me also add that the Nigerian Navy will not relent in its efforts towards policing and enforcement of maritime laws.
“To this end, I wish to advice all mariners to be law-abiding as they engage the Nigerian maritime domain for their individual business.
“Pertinently, fishing companies and agents must pay particular attention to the instructions in Form B issued to them by the Federal Department of Fisheries as license and same must be communicated and understood by the crew, to avoid any form of infringement on the state law them.
“In line with the provisions of Harmonided Standard Operating Procedures on arrest, detention and prosecution of vessel and Person 2016.
“I am directed to hand over Motor Fishing Vessel Seven Stars to representative of FDF, while the two Indians and white substance would be handed over to NIS and NDLEA respectively for further investigation and possible prosecution.”