WALVIS BAY – The fisheries ministry has refuted claims they are spending millions of taxpayers’ money to rent a fisheries patrol vessel.
The claims were made in a video circulated on social media, saying the government rented the Ocean Warrior vessel with taxpayers’ money to carry out fisheries patrols while the ministry’s vessels are rotting in the harbour.
Fisheries minister Derek Klazen yesterday said they engaged the Stop Illegal Fishing (SIL) organisation to assist with patrols after one of the ministry’s vessels broke down in December.
“The other MV Anna Kakurukaze Mungunda is expected to go for her biennial maintenance in due course. This resulted in a memorandum of understanding in March with the Sea Shepherd Global (SSG) to avail the vessel to help fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Namibian waters,” Klazen explained.
According to him, the Ocean Warrior is a civilian offshore patrol vessel, and maintains its crew at their own cost, while government covered only the salary expenses of the law enforcement officers (fisheries inspectors placed on board).
Klazen also indicated no cost was incurred by the government when the agreement was signed – just like in the past.
“This is not the first time that the vessel comes to Namibia. She assisted us in 2019 when both fisheries patrol vessels of the MFMR were incapacitated due to maintenance and a surge in reported IUU fishing activities at the northern maritime border,” the minister explained.
He then cautioned Namibians against circulating false information that is intentionally created to stir up conflict, create mistrust and
tarnish the reputation of the government.
“The fishing industry, under the stewardship of the ministry, supports the livelihood of so many Namibians and contributes immensely to other sectors of the economy. It is, therefore, imperative that individuals refrain from creating and disseminating misleading content for political points or other deceitful intentions,” Klazen appealed.