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04.06.2008 Crime & Punishment

Navy patrol team arrests fishermen operating near oil rig

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A Navy patrol team from the Western Naval Base at Sekondi on Monday arrested four fishermen who were operating near the oil rig
at Cape Three Points.
Teye Mensah, Boney, Ayitey Armah and John Agesiwor, who said they were from the Greater Accra Region, were among a group of recalcitrant fishermen numbering 12 in two separate canoes who disobeyed warnings to desist from fishing in the area.
Commodore Frank Daley, Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command told newsmen at a briefing on Tuesday that, four canoes were spotted in the
area but the team managed to arrest two with the inscriptions “God is king” and “Lebene”. The rest escaped.
Two fishermen from each of the canoes were taken as surety, while the rest were asked to go and report with the canoes at the Naval Base the following morning, but at the time of the briefing none of them had done so.
They were handed over to the Police to continue with investigations.
Commodore Daley stressed the need for collaboration between the media and security personnel to intensify public education on the high risks fishermen
who operate near the oil rig were exposed to.
Shoal of fish are attracted by the bright lights around the oil rig and some fishermen operated close to the rig by tying the ropes of their canoes and fishing boats to the anchor of the rig that could cause some destruction to the rig.
Also, high pressure could cause the pipes of the rig which is about 70 nautical miles off shore to burst, leading to deaths and destruction of boats and canoes near the area.
In spite of several warnings, Commodore Daley said some fishermen are tempted to operate in the area at the risk of their lives because of bumper catch they make.
Superintendent Denis Abade, Western Regional Police Crime Officer said they would be put before court after investigations have been completed.
One of the security personnel disclosed that some people monitor the movement of Navy vessels and use mobile phones to alert fishermen who operate near the oil rig.
This, he said had made it extremely difficult to arrest those who had ignored warning to stop fishing near the oil rig.

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