ZANZIBAR seamen working on foreign vessels have been warned against involvement in drug trafficking in the wake of increasing incidents of local seafarers being nabbed abroad in possession of drugs.
The warning was issued by Danaos Shipping Company’s Country Director, Mr Ali Mzee during the meeting with Zanzibar Seafarers Union and its members here yesterday.
Mr Mzee said, of late, there has been a rise in the number of reported arrests involving Tanzanians in connection with drugs smuggling in Asia, America and Europe, and implored the country’s seamen to uphold good conduct to avoid tarnishing the country’s good image.
“Our good name has been tarnished all across the world over drugs. We are aware that some of our young men, some of your fellows are drug mules, they’re tarnishing our image,” he said and urged the seafarers to be policing each other. “Only recently a Tanzanian citizen was caught in Australia in possession of 30kg drugs.
These acts are spoiling the good name of our country,” the Danaos Zanzibar Director added. He said everyone working in the industry would be affected if drugs smuggling continued. “Captains are now reluctant to recruit Tanzanians as they prefer seafarers from other countries,” he said.
We had 780 seamen and they were all engaged with foreign vessels but the number has dropped to 217 because of drug trafficking and the number will go down further if you don’t take deliberate measures to stop this malpractice,” he noted.
The Danaos Shipping Company boss urged seamen to report fellow crew members whom they suspected to be smuggling drugs and also gave warning to all seamen not to keep prohibited contents in their electronic devices, such as cellular, laptops, mp3 players and flash disks.
Recently a Zanzibari seafarer was arrested in China and returned back home after a terrorism clip was found in his phone. The seaman, whose name is held, narrated his ordeal at the press, saying it was unfortunate that he was linked with a terrorist group.