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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, RSLAF Impounds 335 Drums of Smuggled Fuel
By Aruna Turay
Oct 12, 2011, 17:10
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The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) Navy Wing has confiscated three hundred and thirty-five (335) drums of diesel fuel that was being smuggled to neighbouring countries.


In an exclusive interview, the Officer in Command for the Forward Operational Base (FOB) in Tombo, Lieutenant (N) E.M. Kailie, said he received intelligence reports from some locals that a wooden canoe named Maturity owned by one Mr. Babar Kamara (Alias) Mandela, was seen smuggling fuel from a Rutile Ship anchored between Baoma and Massam villages in the Bonthe River on October 4, 2011.

 

Lieutenant (N) Kailie said upon receipt of the intelligence, he dispatched personnel attached to the FOB and mounted a twenty-four hours operation to track down the smugglers.


Captain (N)D.S.Mansaray

 

He said they further alerted one of the detachments at Plantain Island to be vigilant during their night sentry duties, hoping that the smugglers may land or pass through this point to either deliver or drop a member of their group on the Island.

 

The Navy Lieutenant disclosed that to reinforce the search operations, another boarding team comprising four Maritime Wing personnel, was released from Tombo to go in search of the so called smugglers. He said at about 0045hous on the 5th October 2011, a telephone call was received from the detachment at Plantain Island that the said boat had landed.

 

I ordered an immediate arrest of the wooden boat and instructed the patrol team to go to Plantain Island and divert the said boat to Freetown. I later informed the Commander of the Maritime Wing of the arrest, who in turn ordered me to ensure that the boat and its crew were escorted immediately to Freetown. The patrol team together with an additional two personnel escorted the seized boat to the Maritime Wing Base Murray Town in Freetown and was handed over to the National Revenue Authority (NRA), Lieutenant Kailie said.

 

The Commander Maritime Wing of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) Captain (N) D.S. Mansaray emphasised the need to strengthen maritime security. He said 80% of global maritime smuggling transits through the sea adding that the need for Sierra Leone as a country to join the fight towards global maritime security can not be overemphasised.


The Navy boss noted that despite the fact that Sierra Leones operational capacity is limited owing to factors ranging from lack of adequate and appropriate vessels to inadequate logistical supports and infrastructure, the Navy Wing of Sierra Leone has made use of the limited resources to suppress smuggling and piracy in the countrys two hundred nautical miles waters.

 

Navy Commander Mansaray said they have made numerous achievements in anti-smuggling and piracy operations in the past three years.

He expressed concerns that with the recent discovery of petroleum products off the coast of Sierra Leone, the country faces the threat of resurgence in smuggling and piracy which maritime stakeholders with the support of government must start thinking of measures before oil drilling commences.


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