United States set up sea observation radar in Sao Tome and Principe

29 June 2006

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 29 June – The United States are due to set up a sea observation radar in Sao Tome and Principe, which is the first step in a program to combat illegal fishing, smuggling and illegal immigration along the West African coast, the local pres reported.

According to daily newspaper Jornal de São Tomé, in the next few days a US delegation is due to arrive in the archipelago’s capital to install the radar, computers and provide information within the Marine Domain Awareness program, which si sponsored by the United States.

The installation of the equipment follows discussion between Sao tome’s president, Fradique de Menezes, with the United States government.

Sao Tome will be the first of several countries in the region where observation equipment is due to be set up, with the aim of creating a regional sea security network.

The radar will make it possible, through use of an Automatic Identification System (AIS) to detect signals from ships at sea.

The International Marine Organization (IMO), a special UN agency, requires all ships over 300 tons to have AIS transmitters, which make it possible to identify positions, destination and cargo.

Illegal fishing in sub-Saharan Africa represents an estimated annual loss to the region of some US$1 billion. (macauhub)