More than 400 ships and other water vessels are been investigated by Tanzanian maritime police for what the authorities have termed as possible criminal activity.
Over the past recent months, several foreign ships bearing Tanzania’s flag have been seized and found with illicit shipments of drugs and weapons. The seizure has been in various parts of the world and each has tainted the county’s name.
As a result, last Friday, President John Magufuli put a temporary hold on registration of foreign ships, pending on going investigations.
This latest turn of events adds to another incident just two weeks ago when on January 6th media reported that another vessel was impounded in Greece after it was found carrying explosives.
Reuters said the consignment was “…allegedly destined to war-torn Libya.” It also reported that only a month before that “…Dutch naval forces in December intercepted a Tanzania-flagged merchant vessel carrying 1.6 tonnes of cocaine.”
The reflagging of ships is a tactic used to dupe authorities so that they can fly under the radar unnoticed. Criminal syndicates use reflagging to traffic ammunition, drugs and other illegal materials as well as human trafficking.
President Magufuli was stern and decisive in the matter, he made it clear that foreign vessels cannot be allowed to continue tainting the country’s image.
He said the system that allows reflagging of vessels must be reviewed and until then, the ban on the registration of foreign ships would stay in force.