Sierra Leone commissions maritime surveillance vessel


The President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, on 11 November commissioned the newly acquired Fisheries Patrol Vessel PV Sorie Ibrahim Koroma, which will be used to monitor fishing vessels and poachers in the territorial waters of Sierra Leone.

The commissioning ceremony was held at Queen Elizabeth 11 Quay, Berth One, Cline Town in Freetown, reports Sierra Leone’s State House Communication Unit. The vessel is named after a former Vice President under the governing APC.

In his keynote address, Koroma said poachers pose serious challenges to the fishing industry, which contributes to healthy living, employment and economic activity. He said the government has increased revenue generation in the fishing industry from Seven Billion Leones ($1.5 million) in 2007 to Thirty Billion Leones ($6.5 million) in 2014, adding that managing it well will further increase its revenue generation. Sierra Leone says it loses $32 million every year to illegal fishing.

He noted that government is paying attention to regulate and strengthen the fishing industry with policies to add value to the local fishermen. “Only those with licenses will be allowed to fish and those with licenses must ensure they fish in the proper areas with the required fishing nets,” Koroma noted.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Captain Momodu Alieu Pat-Sowe, said the new boat will help to intercept, fine and combat illegal fishing.

The vessel cost $5.93 million to acquire. It was built by Damen in the Netherlands and arrived in Sierra Leone in late August. It appears to be a Stan Patrol model.

Sierra Leone has a small navy, comprising one Shanghai III class vessel, one Swiftship patrol boat, one LCU and several inshore patrol craft and harbour cutters.