Fishing Vessels Pay Handsome Fines
Friday 8 July 2011
By Amadu Femoh Sesay -Freetown
Dr. Soccoh Kabia, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources
Owners of two fishing vessels recently arrested by a joint team of United States (US) Coast Guards and the Maritime Naval Committee of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed forces (RSLAF) on Sierra Leone’s territorial waters have paid attractive fines levied on them. The vessels, F/V Layal, owned by the Sierra Fishing Company and Spanish Fishing Vessel, F/V Galerna, registered with the Mbambali Fishing Company in the country for violating legislations governing the fisheries sector.
Alpha Bangura, Acting Director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, disclosed during a debriefing session at the Naval Base, Murray Town, Freetown that the vessels violated section 68(1) and 68(2b) of the Fisheries Management and Development Act. He added that
F/V Layal, operating by Sierra Fishing Company paid the sum of Le 30, 000, 000 for failing to send daily catch report to the Ministry before and on the day it was arrested. He said the vessel has also paid the sum of Le 2, 000, 000 for failing to navigate to Port as directed by the boarding team.
The Acting Director maintained that the Spanish Vessel failed to carry an observer on board the vessel and was fined $20, 000. Mr. Bangura said F/V Galerna was also fined with the sum of $30, 000 for failing to send daily catch report, contrary to section 68 (2b ) of the Act. He added that owners of F/V Galerna have also paid the sum of Le 5, 000, 000 as Current Maximum fine for failing to supply correct and complete information about the vessel call sign.
Mr. Bangura emphasised on the significance of the Fisheries Management and Development Act and others Regulations and warned boat owners to operate within the ambit of these laws. Expressing appreciation to the United States for its continued assistance, Mr. Bangura said the US Coast Guards have been very instrumental in monitoring Sierra Leone’s territorial waters and called on the US to implement more initiatives that would further enhance the country’s surveillance, monitoring process and control mechanism.
The United States Embassy Deputy Liaison Officer, Bruno Sanchez, urged Sierra Leone and her sister countries; Liberia and Guinea to pull their resources together in order to effectively and efficiently address the challenges associated with illegal fishing on their territorial waters. The Deputy Liaison Officer added that the United States of America is committed to ensuring that Sierra Leone benefits from its natural resources.
Sierra Leone Maritime Naval Wing Commander, Captain Daniel Mansaray said the enforcement of maritime laws have helped greatly in boosting the revenue base of the Ministry. He expressed appreciation to the US Coast Guards for manning the country’s territorial waters.