Tanzania Receives Two High-Speed Patrol Boats
The United States government delivered two high-speed patrol boats to the Tanzanian Navy to boost its capacity to fight sea crimes such as illegal fishing and drug trafficking.
Valued at more than $1.35 million, the boats are a 10.5-meter Interceptor model and an 11.5-meter enclosed cabin command boat. They were handed over during a ceremony in Dar es Salaam in mid-December. The package included repair and maintenance equipment, towing vehicles and a two-week training course.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is thought to take as much as 20% of Tanzania’s fish, costing the country $400 million a year, according to the United Nations. The country is ready to fight back.
“Whoever is nabbed committing illegal fishing activities will be brought to justice on the spot as we will not tolerate such practices anymore,” Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in a Tanzania Daily News report published a day before the boats were delivered.
More than 4 million Tanzanians rely on fish for a living, but illegal fishing, overfishing and blast fishing that damages ecosystems have sent fish stocks plummeting. Artisanal fishermen sometimes return from a day at sea with little or no catch.
In September 2022, the Tanzania Women Fish Workers Association met to discuss legal fishing practices in the country amid the shortage of fish. About 3,000 members attended.
“The government wants all groups in the society to be engaged in the sector, and I urge you women to join groups so as to safeguard fish resources which are threatened by the use of illegal nets, overfishing and other bad practices,” Tanzania Ministry of Livestock and Fishing Chief Fishing Officer Tumaini Chambua said in a SeafoodSource report.
Tanzania’s 1,300-kilometer coastline is along the Mozambique Channel, a major drug trafficking route. In recent years, Tanzania and Mozambique have emerged as landing points for drugs brought through the Indian Ocean.
The U.S. has worked to help both countries eradicate the scourge through coordinated law enforcement efforts, joint training exercises and other support.
In April 2021, U.S. law enforcement agents helped the Tanzanian Drug Control Enforcement Authority seize 494 kilograms of heroin and 355 kilograms of methamphetamine off the country’s coast.
In early December 2022, the U.S. also donated a high-speed, 10-meter patrol boat to the Mozambican Navy. Valued at $700,000, the boat is used for interdictions and maritime boarding operations around the conflict-ridden Cabo Delgado province.
The donation was part of a set of security assistance programs to help the Mozambican Navy fight terrorism and transnational crime. They include International Military Education and Training, three Joint Combined Exchange Training programs, a Maritime Maintenance and Logistics Advisor program and equipment donations.