By Richards Adeniyi
The Nigerian Navy (NN) has indicted Chinese vessels as most culpable in the Nigeria’s loss of about $70 million annual loss to illegal unreported and unregulated fishing in the country’s territorial waters.
Addressing student of the United States War College on a study tour to Nigeria, at the naval base in Lagos, the Navy said, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other sea crime, have been the problems confronting the force within the country’s maritime environment.
The Chief Staff Officer of the command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji and some other principal officers received the students, numbering about nine, at the Western Naval Command Apapa.
According to the brief handed out to the students, the Nigerian Navy said that most culpable in the illegal and unreported fishing within the country’s territorial waters, were Chinese vessels, which stray into the area to fish illegally.
The Western Naval Command said efforts have been put in place to ensure that these illegal unreported and unregulated fishing stop, adding that some vessels without permit to fish within the country’s territory have been arrested.
Similarly, the navy said that that within the period 2011 and 2018, no fewer than 215 cases of sea robberies have been handled by the force and 175 vessels also arrested.
The vessels it was gathered were involved in the transportation of stolen crude oil and crimes that were frowned at by the force.
The Chief Staff Officer, who represented the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, said that, “this visit is to strengthen relations between the U.S. military and the Nigeria Armed Forces.
“For now, the oil still drives most of our economic activities and we believe that anything that tends to harm this particular sector is economic sabotage.
“Patrol efforts of the command have led to the reduction of maritime theft and illegality.”
The leader of the delegation, Captain Corey Ray, told the media that the visit was aimed at strengthening cooperation between the military of both countries.