By Mustapha Jallow
Dr. Bamba A.M Banja, the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Fisheries, has on Tuesday told Foroyaa that a vessel that was intercepted by the Navy after it was found fishing in a prohibitted zone has been released from custody after the crew on board paid a fine of D500, 000 to the State.
He said: “The vessel was fine and they paid the fine. They are gone.’’
According to Fisheries PS, the decision to fine and release the boat was made by a multi-sectoral committee set up by government to settle disputes of this nature out of court. He said the Committee met last week and imposed a fine of D500,000 on the vessel.
Army spokesperson Major Lamin K Sanyang confirmed the release of the vessel “SARA” on 30th April 2020. The vessel was under the custody of the Navy.
It could be recalled that the foreign vessel was intercepted by the Navy as sea-patrols continued in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The Gambian navy on 18th April 2020, intercepted and brought to anchor a fishing vessel.
“The fishing vessel (SARA) was caught about five (5) Nautical miles from shore – around Bijols Island,’’ army spokesperson said.
He added the vessel was stopped and Navy personnel boarded it for inspection. He continued the boarding team led by Sub-Lieutenant Abdoulie Njie confirmed the validity of the vessel’s fishing license and inspected the fishing net. He said the Navy discovered the vessel was fishing in a prohibited zone.