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Navy hands over 15 suspected fishermen, vessel to Edo Govt.



The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta has handed over 15 suspects and a Merchant Fishing Vessel (MVF) Lily IV to the Department of Fishery, Ministry of Agriculture, Edo for further investigation.

The suspects and the vessel were handed over to the representative of the Fishery Department, Mr Iwanegbe America on Wednesday at the Navy base Jetty in Warri.

Navy Capt. Solomon Paul, the Executive Officer of NNS Delta, released the vessel and the suspects on behalf of the Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Abba Muhsin.

Addressing newsmen, Muhsin said that the vessel and the suspects were arrested on March 11, in Forcados, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta.

He said that the vessel with the suspects on board was apprehended for alleged illegal entry into the Maritime Exclusion Zone of the Forcados Oil Terminal Crude Loading Platform.

“We are here to hand over MFV Lily IV and 15 suspects comprising 14 Nigerians and one Ghanaian.

“With the Nigerian Navy personnel on board intercepted and arrested a Merchant Fishing Vessel, Lily IV.

“The vessel was consequently taken under custody by the Forward Operation Base (FOB), Escravos for investigation on March 13.

“The investigation revealed that two of the crew members were not registered on the vessel’s manifest,” he said.

He said preliminary investigation revealed that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the vessel entered the Maritime Exclusion Zone of the Forcados Oil Terminal Crude Loading Platform.

Muhsin warned mariners against violating the maritime laws within the nation’s territorial waterways, adding that defaulters would be sanctioned accordingly.

He said that these were one of the series of actions by the Nigerian Navy aimed at keeping the Nigeria`s waters safe for better navigation and commercial activities.

The commander said that NNS Delta remained resolute in freeing it’s Area of Operation from all forms of illegalities, which according to him was part of the Navy’s coast guard function toward nation building.

He thanked all government agencies and members of the society who had supported their operations to rid the maritime domain of illegalities.

Responding, Mr America, Assistant Director, Department of Fishery, Ministry of Agriculture, Edo commended the Navy for the good job.

“I am receiving the vessel and the suspects from the Navy. They have done a good job. The Department of Fishery will take further steps to prosecute the suspects,” he said.

Edeki Igafe

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