Nigeria loses $70m to illegal fishing, others yearly

Fishing on Lagos Lagoon

The Nigeria navy has disclosed that the country loses $70m to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), oil theft and other maritime crimes by the Chinese vessels annually.Defence Attaché, Colonel Thomas Brillisauer, stated this during visit of a delegation from the German Armed Forces General Staff College to the Western Naval Command (WNC) headquarters in Lagos.

He said Germany was ready to donate more boats to assist the Nigerian Navy to boost its presence in the Niger Delta and the Lake Chad regions, saying the German government would donate five Epenal Boats to the Navy. He explained that Epenal Boats were chosen because the Navy already had similar ones on its fleet and understood their functionality.

Brillisauer said the boats, which were built at the Naval Shipyard Limited in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, would be handed over to the Navy in a few weeks to aid the fight against maritime crimes.Besides, Brillisauer said Germany was also partnering with the Nigerian Military in medical and counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

His words: When it comes to bigger ships, we train personnel in Germany who acquire necessary knowledge and then train their peers in Nigeria.“We are not focusing on rehabilitated the NNS ARADU based on the discussion I had with the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). Key focus now is on smaller ships in Nigeria’s territorial waters, rather than having one big one.

“We will be handing over anytime soon, some Epenal Boats to the navy. We are in contact with Defence Headquarters and we agreed to partner in the areas of medical and counter IEDs. We did not discuss equipping the Nigerian Armed Forces with weapons.Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), WNC, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, said a lot of vessels had been arrested for IUU and handed over to relevant authorities.

He said the perpetrators usually came as close as four nautical miles to the coast, which was not allowed, adding that by so doing, they deprive local fishermen of the resources.“About $70 million is reportedly lost every year to IUU in Nigeria’s maritime domain, largely perpetuated by Chinese fishing vessels,” he added.Leader of the delegation, Colonel Thorsten Schutz, said they visited Nigeria for their students to have an impression of Africa since they would work with them in the future.

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