Fishery ships complete long interstate patrols

Jul 16, 2005
Author: P&S

Sarah Baartman, the flagship of the South African sea fishery patrol fleet entered Durban port this week after completing a joint sea-fishery patrol off the east coast of southern Africa.

The 83-metre long ship, which entered service in December last year, carried a team of fishery inspectors from South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania and had completed one month patrol off the east coast.

Sarah Baartman on arrival in Table Bay December 2004, as another new patrol vessel Lilian Ngoyi (background) provides the welcome. The larger vessel took part in the recent joint exercise along the east coast, while a sister ship to Lilian Ngoyi, Ruth First participated in a similar exercise off the west coast. Picture by John Kieser/DEAT

In all more than 50 fishing vessels were stopped and inspected, with one off Mozambique being fined for fishing in a prohibited area and another two fishing vessels for infringing fishing regulations. A fourth boat was ordered back to port after it was discovered the vessel’s safety certificate had expired.

Off Tanzania a number of foreign tuna fishing boats were stopped to have their papers checked for compliance with Tanzania’s fishery regulations.

Meanwhile the Namibian patrol vessels Anna Kakurukaze Mungunda and Nathaniel Maxuilili completed a similar joint patrol involving Namibian, South African and Angolan inspectors along the west coast. The South African inshore patrol vessel Ruth First also took part.

During the 15-day patrol 14 Namibian and 13 South African fishing vessels were stopped and inspected, with four Namibian-registered vessels fined for minor infringements such as not carrying the mandatory documentation.

Two Angolan patrol vessels joined the exercise while off the coast of Angola, the patrol vessels Temerario and Preservador.

The multi-national fishery patrols are expected to become a regular occurrence and are being coordinated by the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) programme.

MCS is headquartered in Windhoek, Namibia and makes use of funds provided by the European Union to assist the countries of South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Namibia and Angola improve the management of their marine resources. This involves training and technical assistance to the government agencies that monitor and control fishing activity with the ultimate goal of tackling illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in southern Africa.

Among other forms of training a number of South African inspectors have attended an advanced training course in investigation techniques at the Central Police Training and Development Authority (CENTREX) in Durham, UK.

With the acquisition of four new patrol vessels by South Africa and another by Namibia the region now has the means of tackling these issues even at long range and extending to the Prince Edward Islands. A statement by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism says that although the four new sea fishery patrol boats (one is till to be delivered in August 2005) are registered in Cape Town, they will be deployed around the coast where they can go to sea acting on information gained from land, sea and aerial surveillance, coordinated from the department’s operations centre in Cape Town. The department will also work close in hand with the SA Defence Force and SA Police Services as well as with other countries in the region.



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