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E Guinea suspends 300 vessels for illegal flag use

Equatorial Guinea has suspended over 300 fishing vessels for fraudulently flying its flag, Vice-President Teodoro Nguema Obiang has said.

He said of the 368 vessels fishing under the Equato-guinean flag, only 20 were registered with the ministry of transport and the International Maritime Organisation.

“The rest have been suspended for fraud. The next step is to put in place control and contract acquisition policies for the legal use of our flag,” he posted on Twitter on Thursday.

This is not the first time the country has taken action against vessels illegally flying its flag.

In April 2022, Equatorial Guinea suspended 395 vessels for illegally sailing under its flag.

It followed the sinking of Xelo – a fishing vessel – in Tunisian territorial waters.

The vessel, allegedly flying the Equatorial Guinea flag, sank under suspicious circumstances, prompting the country to file a criminal lawsuit against its owners.

Mr Obiang Mangue subsequently sought international assistance and urged other countries to report vessels illegally flying the Equatorial Guinea flag.

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