The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB) Cape Formoso on Friday handed over a fishing trawler; MFV Seven Stars and its 14 crew members to the Federal Department of Fisheries.
Also, two Indians without their passports were handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), and unknown substances to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in Bayelsa.
The Navy seized the trawler on Nov. 29, 2023 at position lat. 04 08′ 17 N’ and long 006 18′ 59″ E about 6nm from Brass Terminal.
The handing over was held at a brief ceremony at the FOB Egwema, Brass, and performed by the Commanding Officer, Capt. Murtala Aminu Rogo, represented by the Executive Officer, FOB, Commander Dantani Ishaku Bukar.
He said the two Indian Nationals, Mr Suresha Dogra and Mr Punnakal Francis Xavier, were handed over to the NIS and unknown white substance found on board to the NDLEA.
The act, he said violated the Sea Fisheries Act of 1992, adding that such maritime infraction among others, would not be tolerated by the Nigerian Navy.
According to him, preliminary investigation by the Base revealed that the captain falsely declared 12 member of crew on board as against 14, the additional two crew were discovered to be two Indians illegally on board without their passports.
The Commander, noted that the Nigerian Navy would not tolerate any act of maritime infractions in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea at large.
“Let me also add that the Nigerian Navy will not relent in its effort 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 businesses.
“Pertinently, fishing companies and agents must pay particular attention to the instructions in Form B issued to them by the FDF as license and same must be communicated and understood by the vessel crew to avoid any form of infringement on the state law therein,” he said.
He said the NN under the leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ikechuchwu Ogalla, is determined to ensure that Nigerian maritime domain remains secured and safe for all legitimate businesses to thrive towards building a strong nation.
“Accordingly, in line with the provision of Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest Detention and Prosecution of Vessel and Person 2016.
“I am directed to hand over Motor Fishing Vessel Seven Stars 1, to representative of FDF, while the 2 Indians and white substances to NIS and NDLEA respectively for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.