Liberian Vessel hijacked in N’Delta found in Togo, crew members missing

Director-General-NIMASA-Dr.-Dakuku-PetersideA Liberian flagged oil vessel hijacked off the shore of the Niger Delta last week is said to have been sighted at Lome, Togo.

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.”

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About Cholo Brooks 17181 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.