The Nigerian government has handed over the fishing vessel Marine 707 suspected to be carrying out illegal activities in the Gulf of Guinea to the Ghanaian authorities for further investigation and possible prosecution.
Nigeria also handed over 51 crew members including 48 Ghanaian and 3 south Korea nationals to the government of Ghana and Korea respectively.
The vessel which had authorisation to fish in Ghana and Benin waters was arrested by the Nigerian Navy on the 18th of May, 2020 around the south-west of Lagos waters with her Automatic Identification System (AIS) switched off after being suspected to be used for piracy or being used as a mother ship to conduct piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and was then handed over to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) after preliminary investigations by the Navy.
While speaking during the official handover of the Ghanaian flagged vessel and the crew to the respective authorities, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said that the Navy, NIMASA partnership which is now hinged on intelligence has put Nigeria on a pedestal of winning the war against piracy and other illegal acts at sea.
Jamoh who was represented by the agency’s commander, Maritime Guard Command Commodore Aniete Ibok disclosed that the vessel ran foul of international laws for shutting down its AIS 36 times in the last 6 months.
According to him “We have done our preliminary investigations and we are yet to establish any concrete evidence against the vessel but again, we would not know what she would be doing whenever she turns off her AIS which occurred 36 times without being logged in her record book in line with international protocols and three of these were in our domain.”
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