Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Sierra Leone formally thanks island for patrol boat

Ibrahim Pat-Sowe from Sierra Leone
Image caption Ibrahim Pat-Sowe from Sierra Leone has visited the island to say thank you

A representative from Sierra Leone has visited the Isle of Man to thank Manx residents after the donation of a fishing patrol vehicle.

Ibrahim Pat-Sowe said the vessel is helping to address illegal fishing in the country's territorial waters.

The former Manx customs and excise vessel was handed over to the Sierra Leone government last October.

"It is the only patrol vessel we have and it has made a big difference to our fishery," Mr Pat-Sowe said.

"The island just keeps doing more and more to help us so it is about time we came over here to say thank you."

Eight arrests

The West African country of Sierra Leone faces a huge problem with unauthorised trawlers catching fish.

The Manx-donated boat has been named 'Isle of Man' and is now the fastest in the country's waters.

Image caption Isle of Man vessel in Freetown harbour

According to the Isle of Man government, the move has already led to about eight arrests and $400,000 worth of fines being imposed.

The vessel allows patrols to stop and inspect any fishing boat in their national waters and fines of up to $1m can be imposed for trawlers in breach of the law.

Main exports from Sierra Leone include diamonds, minerals, cocoa, coffee and fish.

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