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Nigerian Navy Hands Over Merchant Fishing Vessel, 15 Suspects to Edo Fishery Department

 

Joel Osaigbovo Aluge Reporting

Benin City, Nigeria

 

 

The Nigerian Navy Ship Delta, on Wednesday, handed over a merchant fishing vessel, Lily IV, alongside 15 suspects to the Department of Fishery, Ministry of Agriculture, Edo State, for further investigation.

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

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

In his address at the event, Muhsin said the vessel and the suspects were arrested on March 11, 2024, in Forcados, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta.

According to him, the vessel with the suspects onboard was apprehended for alleged illegal entry into the Maritime Exclusion Zone of the Forcados Oil Terminal Crude Loading Platform.

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

On March 11, 2024, MV Kingston, a private maritime security company vessel belonging to the Ocean Marine Services, contracted by Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited.

The Nigerian Navy personnel onboard intercepted and arrested the merchant fishing vessel, Lily IV. The vessel was consequently taken under custody by the Forward Operation Base, Escravos for investigation on March 13.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that there was insufficient evidence to prove that MFV Lily IV entered the Maritime Exclusion Zone of the Forcados Oil Terminal Crude Loading Platform.

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

Muhsin warned mariners to desist from violating the maritime laws within the nation’s territorial waterways, stressing that any defaulter would be sanctioned accordingly.

Receiving the vessel and the suspects, America, an 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 and they may face prosecutions,” America said.

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