Liberian authorities say they have impounded two foreign fishing vessels and are seeking US$1million in compensation, the Ministry of National Defense has confirmed.
Defense Minister Brownie Samukai said on Friday that one of the boats was a Chinese vessel that paid “just US$700” for a permit to import 40 tons of fish into the country.
However, Samukai told ELBC radio that officials later discovered that the permit was being used for multiple vessels carrying a total of 130 tons of fish.
“The other vessel is a Spanish-owned, but bears Senegalese-flag,” Samukai is quoted in a press release.
The ministry is citing 25 violations, and for that, the boat has been impounded and its crew detained by state security.
According to security sources, overfishing remains widespread along Liberia’s coastline due to lack of resources to empower the Coast Guard to effectively patrol the coastline.
It can be recalled that on February 6, Min. Samukai disclosed that the Coast Guard arrested a Senegalese vessel which, according to him, has been fishing in violation on Liberia’s coast on the Atlantic Ocean.
He said the Liberian Coast Guard arrested the vessel to expose its illegal operations on the shores of Liberia.
He explained that 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.”
“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,” Samukai told reporters.