Navy Hands Over 15 Suspects, Merchant Vessel To Ministry For Probe

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The Nigerian Navy Ship, (NNS), Delta has handed over 15 suspects, and a Merchant Fishing Vessel (MFV) Lily IV to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Fishery in Edo State.

Navy said the suspects were handed over to the ministry for proper investigations.

The suspects comprising 14 Nigerians, one Ghanaian and the vessel were handed over to Mr. Iwanegbe America, the representative of the Fishery Department, on Wednesday at the Navy base jetty in Warri, Delta state.

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

Commodore Muhsin told journalists that the vessel and the suspects were arrested on March 11, 2024 in Forcados, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

He said they were apprehended for allegedly making 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.

“On March 11, 2024, MV Kingston, a private maritime security company vessel belonging to the Ocean Marine Services (OMS) contracted by Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC) Nigeria Limited with the Nigerian Navy personnel onboard 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.

“While the 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,” he said.

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

He said that this was one of the series of actions by the Nigerian Navy in keeping the nation’s waters safe for better navigation and commercial activities.

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

Muhsin, however, thanked government agencies and good spirited members of the society who had supported their operations to rid the maritime domain of illegalities.

Receiving the vessel and the suspects, Mr America, an Assistant Director in the ministry 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 step and they may face prosecution,” America said.

Source link: Leadership

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