According to The PUNCH online, quoting the Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, during stated this at a press briefing at the company headquarters in Lagos on Friday.
He said that at the time of the press conference, the Togolese Maritime police were about to board the vessel to interview the crew.
Peterside said, “We have in recent times experienced renewed cases of attacks and abduction of crew onboard vessels sailing into or out of our waters. The latest being the hijack and abduction of five crew members onboard a Liberian flagged chemical tanker, MT Sampatiki off shore Niger Delta.
“The vessel arrived in Port Harcourt port on March 21, 2016 loaded with gas oil and sailed out on March 24, 2016. Our government was informed of the piracy incidence on March 26, 2016.”
Peterside added that the Nigerian Navy was immediately informed and a vessel was deployed in search of the crew and the vessel. He said the vessel was tracked via NIMASA’s satellite surveillance facility in conjunction with intelligence from the Nigerian Navy to Lome.
“While we have intensified search for the abducted crew members, we have also made contacts with the Maritime Administrations of the Republic of Benin and that of Togo to ensure safe return of the vessel. We are also in touch with the flag state and the owners of MT Sampatiki.
“As fallout of the incident, we have deployed some of our operational vessels manned by military personnel of the Maritime Guard Command to enforce the security and guarantee 24 hours patrol of our territorial waters especially off the coast of Qua Iboe and Brass in the Niger Delta where these incidences seem to be rampant.”