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General News of Sunday, 28 July 2019


Family of missing fishing observer calls on government to find relative

The family of a missing fishing observer is calling on the government to help them find their relative.

Emmanuel Essien who was assigned to the Meng Xin 15, a Chinese Vessel operating in Ghana, has been reported missing for about three weeks.

His colleague alleges that the vessel returned from its deep-sea operation without Essien.

But speaking to Citi News a sister of the missing fishing observer, Mercy Essien said the government must investigate the disappearance of their brother.

“Essien is my younger brother. I received his work place informing me that he is missing. So, I asked where he was but the foreigners he works with claimed that they saw him the previous morning but by the next day, he was no where to be found. So I am asking, where is he? He shared a room with three Chinese nationals and I don’t know if they killed him or not. I simply don’t know what he did to them for him to disappear so mysteriously. He has a family so whenever he is, he should be returned to us.”

“The government must also investigate this matter because all of my brother’s belonging are still intact. The authorities should simply return my brothers to us. We need the help of everyone to help us find our brother because we hear the Chinese nationals are usually complicit in these matters”, she noted.

No search mission?

Though the Fisheries Commission, says the crew of Chinese fishing vessel who were arrested, over the disappearance of Emmanuel Essien, have been granted bail, experts have faulted the Commission for failing to constitute an initial search party.

In a Citi News interview, Acting director of the ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre, Commander Yussif Benning maintained that the observer cannot be declared missing when the Fisheries Commission has not instituted a search.

“For the observer to be declared officially missing in our jurisdiction, there has to be a rescue and search [exercise] at the area where he got missing. Based on the findings, then the state can now make an official declaration that he is indeed missing. But, the fisheries commission which received the information and controls the vessel are the ones to kick in this process. For me, the first thing which needs to be done parallel to what the police are doing at the shore is an official search before we can put the docks together and say that he got missing in this general area.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Director for the Center of Maritime law and safety, Kamal Deen says stakeholders within the maritime space must intensify investigations to find Emmanuel Essien.

According to the retired naval captain, there are some critical questions that need to be answered.

“These are the key questions that we will have to interrogate and in the larger interest of the nation and ensure that we are better prepared. I think this issue must be investigated to its bottom because somebody cannot disappear like that – there must be information we are not in possession of or someone is not giving. It is key that, this is done because this is the life of a fishing observer who was working for the whole country”.