The Joint Task Force Monitoring Team led by NIMASA on Monday 21st May 2012 intercepted and arrested a fibre boat named AMOMO MARINE carrying nine 205 litre drums and Sixteen 50 litre cans of Automative Gas Oil (AGO) on board near the NNPC pipeline at Atlas Cove, Lagos.
The boat was immediately apprehended by the joint team of NIMASA officials and the Nigerian Navy and taken to the Agency’s Kirikiri jetty.
During questioning by NIMASA officials at its Kirirkiri office, the crew members whose names were given as Ganiyu Abbas and Jamiu Matthew said they were sent by their boss to supply rice, fish and water to an unnamed ship at sea and that they would be paid with one and a half ton of diesel.
The crew member who spoke in pidgin said “We dey house this morning wey our oga come call us say make we come go pack rice, fish and water, and small boat come carry us go to ship side. They come transfer the water, rice and fish, na him they come give us markets (diesel)”
The suspected sponsors, Mrs. Sikirat Oba and Mr. Emiko Nelson were also apprehended after they were called by the boat crew.
A joint statement by the duo revealed that they were contacted by one Mr. Seun to supply food stuff; rice, fish, and water to a vessel and they will in turn be paid with one and a half ton of AGO and that the boat was on its way back when the NIMASA Task Force apprehended it.
Meanwhile officials of the Agency have evacuated the boat to stop the continued spill of the oil with resultant negative effects on marine and aquatic life.
The suspects and a total of nine 205 litre drums and Sixteen 50 litre cans of AGO have been handed over to the Marine Police at Kirikiri for further investigations.
While the Agency will continue to patrol the waterways and creeks to check illegal activities at sea and incessant pollution of the marine environment by non convention vessels and crafts, awareness campaigns to operators of these small crafts remain critical. The Agency has resolved to increase the tempo of these campaigns in a bid to ensuring safer and cleaner maritime domain.
It will be recalled that NIMASA, the Agency responsible for the administration of maritime safety in the nation has powers to arrest ships, non convention vessels and small crafts suspected of carrying out illegal activities in section 35 (1) of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007.
Naval Today Staff , May 24, 2012; Image: NIMASA