By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Trawler Owners Association, NITOA, and the Federal Department of Fishery and Agriculture, have said that there has been a drastic reduction in pirates attacks against fishing trawlers.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, President of the association, Mr. Amire Akinbola, said although he could not make the figures available to our correspondent, the report of such attacks was very minimal last year.
Akinbola also said that no incident has been reported this year by any of their members adding that it is the hope and prayer of trawler owners that these negative menaces that almost chase operators out of the fishery business would no more be prominent in the country’s maritime domain.
He explained that the relative peace being experienced now in the fishery sub-sector has also increased the rate at which aquatic products from Nigeria are exported.
He disclosed that not all the fishing vessels operate from Lagos, explaining that there are operators in the sector that are outside Lagos and their businesses are booming.
He stated: “Yes, this is correct; you see a lot of people mistake pirate attacks for sea robbery, they are not exactly the same.
“Piracy happens when there is violence on board a vessel with a view to cart away from that vessel, and it happens only outside the territorial waters of the country. If it is within the territorial waters that is sea robbery. What we have mostly on fishing vessels is sea robbery.
“There are times we have pirates’ attacks but in recent years, it is not witnessed. It is possible for the two to happen with the vessel, if for example, the vessel is attack within the territorial and the vessel is taken as a platform to go and attack other vessels, it is piracy”.
Confirming the development, Deputy Director at the Fishery and Agriculture department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Bola Kupolati said that the number of attacks on fishing trawlers was very insignificant.