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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Naval equipment for Joint Maritime Unit
The joint Maritime Unit at Murray Town has been equipped with Naval equipment that will enable them perform their duties effectively. They include automatic identification system (AIS), two raiders and internet facilities.
According to Navy Captain Daniel S. Mansaray, Commanding Officer RSLAF Naval Wing, the equipments were provided and installed by the United States Department mainly to stop sub-regional crimes such as illegal drug trafficking and illegal fishing. He said drug dealers travel all the way from Columbia to Africa with their drugs then to the world at large. As a result of that, the Americans taught it fit to install the equipments to stop such acts.
Navy Captain Mansaray also said that they have installed the two raiders at Cape Light and Tombo respectively. “With the help of the raiders, they can receive signals of any vessel that enters the fishing areas of Sierra Leone and beyond”, he said, adding that the Automatic Identification System can receive signals from the raiders and through the Internet facilities they can track the name, speed, location and fishing area of a particular vessel.
He further said that early last week they were able to apprehend three illegal vessels fishing along the coast of Sierra Leone, but with order from the Director of Fisheries, they released the vessels on the grounds that the vessels have temporal authorization to operate along the coast for a short time.
Navy Captain Mansaray said that the raiders are not enough to cover or stop illicit vessels from fishing along the coast line, but at the same time they are using the little they have to cover the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Presently, according to Navy Captain Mansaray, they have only one vessel which was given to them by China.
Mr. Tommy Tailor, Head of the Joint Maritime Committee, stated that they have problem of both license and non license vessels fishing along the coast line. He also stated that one of their major problems is that of accommodation, but with the timely intervention of the government they were able to build the structure that they occupy at the moment.
He also said that logistic was also another problem facing the Maritime Unit. They have received instruction from World Bank that they should provide Standard Fishing Regulation of Sierra Leone to enable them to receive fund from World Bank. According to Mr. Tailor, they drafted the document since 2009 and submitted it to the Fishing Committee for Parliament’s approval in 2010, but that they are yet to receive the document from parliament. He also said that Sierra Leone was the first country to draft the said document. Liberia and Senegal have all received funds from World Bank for the project.
The stakeholders that were working with the Joint Maritime Unit to combat the fight against illegal vessels and drug dealers include the Office of National Security, Marine Time Administration, National Revenue Authority, Office of Transnational Organization Unit, Port Authority, Sierra Leone Immigration and the Sierra Leone Police.
He further said that Sierra Leone is in the process of establishing the Vessels Monitoring System (VMS). Regardless of what you are doing within the 250 nautical miles of Sierra Leone they can apprehend you. Presently the vessel that they have can only cover 150 nautical miles. The cases they mostly receive cover vessels that cover 10-15 miles.
Mr. Tailor then said that the deadline for all vessel registration for license is March 31, 2011. All vessels ploughing the coastline of Sierra Leone have to registers by April 2011, and that vessels and even canoes should have transponders that will enable them receive signals as to where the vessel or canoe is at any point in time
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Issues/Monitoring, control and surveillance