Monday, August 24, 2009

A force for good

We hear so much about the good intentions of the trans-national EU and how much it helps Africa – like when it steals its fish in highly dubious deals on fishing rights. What African littoral states need though, more than anything, is practical help in policing their own waters, better to protect their fish from predatory fishing fleets and to support artisan fishermen.

In small measure, that help is there – not enough, but it is something. But it is not the EU that steps up to the plate ... it could not and, even if it could, it would not. No, the help comes from another nation state, the United States.

Pictured is the Yu Feng, a Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel suspected of illegal fishing activity, moves through the water off the coast of Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 17 August, before being boarded by US Coast Guardsmen from USCGC Legare (WMEC 912) and representatives of the Sierra Leone armed forces maritime wing, Fisheries Ministry and Office of National Security.

Legare is on a three-month deployment as part of Africa Partnership Station, an international initiative developed by US Naval Forces Europe and Africa to work with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Eggert, US Coast Guard/Released.)