By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Ambassador Wang Quing, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, has warmly welcome the safe return of a hijacked Chinese fishing vessel “Shenghai No. 2” and its crew members from the Liberian shores.
On July 22, 2023, “Shenghai No. 2” was hijacked by pirates in the territorial waters of Sierra Leone and then entered the territorial waters of Liberia. There were 6 Chinese crew members and 17 Sierra Leonean crew members on board.
“Through our joint efforts, they returned to Sierra Leone two weeks ago. I am very happy to see you back safely and well,” Ambassador Qing said.
He expresses gratitude and appreciation to the Sierra Leone Government and all relevant Ministries and agencies, RSLAF Maritime Wing, and Sierra Leone Police for their great support and assistance for rescuing the vessel.
Ambasador Qing went on to state that the safe return of the fishing vessel under joint efforts is a vivid demonstration of the long-established and solid friendship between China and Sierra Leone. “There is an old saying in China, “A friend in need is a friend indeed”.
He said China and Sierra Leone have always supported each other in times of need. “We are good brothers and sisters through thick and thin, share weal and woe,” he affirmed.
“I want to say the Chinese Government attaches great importance the safety and rightful interests of Chinese enterprises and citizens abroad. The Embassy will always provide strong backing to you.”
He lamented on the vices of piracy that occurs in the gulf of Guinea, encouraging that they should continue to step up anti-piracy capacity building.
He said in recent years, China provided regional countries with multiple consignments of anti-piracy supplies and equipment, engaged in joint anti-piracy exercises.
The Ambassador said the Chinese military held the first symposium on the security situation in the Gulf of Guinea, in which China and the coastal countries and the Inter Regional Coordination Center for the maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea held in-depth discussions on the theme of maritime security and reached a lot of important consensuses.
“China has also actively worked with Sierra Leone among other countries in areas, such as fishing, harbor construction, aquaculture, and fishing processing, benefiting local communities and help guarantee and improve people’s livelihood, and enhance the sense of gain and security of local communities, in particular the youth.
He said fishery is a traditional and one of the major areas of cooperation between China and Sierra Leone which has mutually benefited the two nations, adding that Chinese fishing companies are the main partners of the fishery industry of Sierra Leone, and has made positive contribution to the employment and the economic and social development of Sierra Leone.
Present at the occasion are the Honorable Princess Dugba, Minister of Fishery and Maritime Resources, Honorable Muana Brima Massaquoi, Deputy Minister of Defence, Honorable Mrs. Haja Isata Abdulai Kamara, Deputy Minister of Fishery and Maritime Resources, Representatives of Chinese Fishing companies in Sierra Leone among others.
All of them speak on the Sierra Leone-China relationship and the significant roles China plays in their respective sectors.