Sierra Leone Gets Brand New Fisheries Patrol Boat
As many other African countries, Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing has been a major challenge facing Sierra Leone’s fisheries sector, thereby depriving the country of much needed revenue for development activities. In an effort to curb this nefarious practice in a more determined and robust manner, the Government of Sierra Leone has procured the first highly sophisticated Fisheries Patrol Boat in West Africa, constructed by Damen, one of the World’s most renowned ship builders in Holland.
Witnessing the arrival of the vessel at the Queen Elizabeth Quay at Cline Town over the week end, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Capt. Momodu Allieu Pat-Sowe said the procurement of the vessel named Sorie Ibrahim Koroma is a demonstration of government’s determination to combat illegal fishing and promote the conservation and management of the country’s Marine resources. Capt. Pat-Sowe described Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, (MCS)activity as one of his ministry’s flagship programmes, adding that the new vessel will also conduct scientific research on marine resources and assured of government’s desire to provide more of such vessels. He was confident that the new boat will minimize the rate of illegal fishing, piracy, human trafficking and other related crimes in the country’ territorial waters and stressed the need to train more Sierra Leoneans in Fisheries and Marine related programmes. Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Fisheries, Hon. Patrick Foya described the initiative as ‘fantastic’ and applauded government for the support. He pledged his committee’s continued support in ensuring that the ministry overcome its challenges and contribute to national development. A member of the committee, Hon. Abi Kaloko also expressed pleasure over the arrival of the boat and hoped it will help address illegal fishing. Director of Fisheries, Mohamed Bushura Cole assured that his ministry will put proactive measures in place that would ensure the country’s marine resources are well monitored, control and surveillanced by trained and qualified personal. Head of the Fisheries Protection Unit, Victor Kargbo said there is no safe haven for poachers as the newly acquired, well- equipped 25 metres vessel is capable of covering over 200 nautical miles at a very short period. He lamented that illegal fishing continues to threaten people’s livelihoods, noting that a survey conducted by the European Union shows that Sierra Leone is losing 32 million US Dollars annually to illegal fishing. The newly acquired Vessel is currently located at the Quay, awaiting commissioning by HE the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.
By Max A. Konneh, Press Officer, MFMR
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