The Minister of Defense, Brownie Samukai, has disclosed the arrest of a Senegalese vessel by the Liberian Coast Guard. The vessel, according to Samukai, has been fishing in violation on Liberia’s coast on the Atlantic Ocean.
The Minister made the disclosure yesterday in Monrovia at the Ministry of Defense when he said the Liberian Coast Guard arrested the vessel to expose its illegal operations on the shores of Liberia.
He explained that the Hispasen7 is a fishing vessel that has been illegally operating on the shores of Liberia and faces 25 violations.
Minister Samukai said the vessel has an expired Senegalese fishing license, missing International Sewage Certificate, missing crew contract, expired sanitation certificate, which was issued in Dakar on June 27, 2014 with six months validity and accommodation areas that are unhygienic. He said “these are not in compliance with International Labor Standards.”
The Minister said a document found on the ship did not report entries of any catch on Liberian waters and also did not report any failed Automatic Identification System and Vessel Monitoring System.
According to a Coast Guard Boarding Officer, the master of the vessel provided conflicting information regarding the amount of cargo on board from 20 to 40 tons of fish, the fish holds were not full, which was strange considering that the master claimed to be making his way to Dakar. He stated that the vessel fished in Liberian waters two years ago.
It was revealed that during the inspection that the team discovered an unusual amount of cargo (soap) on board without a manifest.
The team was informed that the cargo was taken aboard at the same time a cargo was transshipped on February 1, 2017, from the vessel identified as Soraya I with “Shrimp 1,672 cartons, Lagostin 3 cartons, Alistado 2 cartons, Pulvo 43 cartons and Sole 75 cartons.”
And as evidence of transshipment, the vessel master provided to the Liberian Coast Guard officers a document that was neither signed nor stamped, recording the cargo taken on board from Soraya I.
Under regulation LOI No 2016-554 of the Cote d’Ivoire Fisheries Code, all transshipment is banned in Ivorian waters under article 27.
The head of the team for the Liberian Coast Guard, George Siebo explained that “based on the violations of the Liberian Maritime Act, the Liberian Fisheries Regulation and relevant Cote d’Ivoire and International laws, we instructed the vessel’s master to set course for Monrovia for investigation.”
The Coast Guard meanwhile has sought assistance from the Liberian Police National Central Bureau as well as the international police organization, INTERPOL, to analyze the vessel.