30 September 2015, Calabar – The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has seized a vessel on illegal activity along the Calabar Fairway Board in Cross River State.
The impounded vessel had 14 Nigerians and one Ghanaian on board.
The Flag Officer Commanding, ENC, Rear Admiral Atiku Abdulkadir, disclosed this at the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory jetty in Calabar shortly after interrogating the crew members of the apprehended vessel.
Abdulkadir said the vessel was arrested for operating on the waterways without valid Navy and fisheries permit from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
“The vessel was arrested for violating the regulations of the Navy and that of fishing authorities. The vessel was operating without permit from any relevant quarters. This vessel is not fit to be on the sea.
“It has one foreigner on board and we are not sure if he has a valid working permit. We are still going on with the investigations and I can assure you that we will hand them over to the relevant authorities for prosecution,” he assured.
According to him, the implication for operating on the sea without valid Navy permit can endanger the lives of other marine operators.
“The vessel was caught with some fishes inside and that is an infraction on the fisheries regulation. From a real point of view, this vessel can be taken over by pirates for other criminal activities and thereby making other water users to be scared,” he said.
He added that the vessel was not in the Navy’s list of cleared vessel permitted to operate on the waterways.
The FOC warned sea pirates and illegal marine operators to desist from perpetrating crimes along the waterways, saying that anyone caught will face the law.
The Captain of the seized vessel, Mr. Martin Baleta, admitted he operated the vessel without Navy and fisheries permit.
Baleta said he started operating the vessel two months ago, adding that he had not applied for any permit from the relevant authorities.
“I did not get clearance from any authority. My assistant only said he made some calls before we set out. I am aware that before going out, we need to get permit from the Navy and fishing licence and others from Immigration and Customs. Unfortunately, we did not get any,” he said.