Cameroon becomes a country of choice for foreign fishing vessels

DOUALA, Cameroon – Off the coast of West Africa, the Trondheim is a familiar sight: a vessel the size of a football field, plying waters from Nigeria to Mauritania as it pulls tons of mackerel and sardines – and flying the red, yellow and green flag of Cameroon.

But apart from the flag, there is almost nothing on Trondheim that is Cameroonian.

She once operated as King Fisher and sailed under the flag of the Caribbean nation Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Then he moved to Georgia, the former Soviet republic. It was not until 2019 that he started flying the banner of Cameroon.

The Trondheim is one of several renowned vessels under Cameroon’s growing fishing fleet that have changed names and been accused of illicit activities at sea. Currently, an Associated Press investigation has revealed that 14 of these vessels are owned or managed by companies based in the Member States of the European Union: Belgium, Malta, Latvia and Cyprus.

Local Cameroonian fishermen prepare fishing nets on their boats along the shores of the beach in Limbe, Cameroon, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Grace Ekpu)
A fishmonger displays barracudas for sale at a fresh fish market in Limbe, Cameroon, April 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Grace Ekpu)
Fishmongers in Limbe, Cameroon, and nearby communities wait on the shore for fishing boats to arrive with their catch on the shore in Limbe, April 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Grace Ekpu)

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