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Detained Greek vessel escapes

Posted by By ALEX AKAO on 2007/07/18 | Views: 547 |

Detained Greek vessel escapes


Palpable fears gripped the nation’s maritime industry at the weekend following news of the escape of a Greek vessel earlier detained on court orders at Apapa Port, carrying with her three Nigerian security guards.

Palpable fears gripped the nation’s maritime industry at the weekend following news of the escape of a Greek vessel earlier detained on court orders at Apapa Port, carrying with her three Nigerian security guards.

The guards, whose identities still remained sketchy as at press time, were engaged by a Federal High Court Admiralty Marshal to provide security on board of the ship code-named MT (Merchant Tanker) Tritya.

Daily Sun reliably gathered that the vessel, belonging to a prominent Greek fleet, was under arrest on court orders as pre-judgement security for the alleged short-fall of 1000 tonnes of gas oil cargo valued at about N100 million.

The ship had earlier been speculated to be in the custody of the Nigerian Navy.
But reacting to the report, Director of Naval Information, Captain Henry Babalola, said the vessel was not under the custody of the Nigerian Navy.

Captain Babalola said the matter involving the vessel was a dispute between two parties.
He stressed that the Navy was not involved in the detention of the vessel.
The cargo owners, Capital Oil and Gas industries Limited and Rahamanniya Global Resources Limited, had dragged the vessel owners and operators to court seeking claims for the shortlanded goods.
Managing Director of Pokat Nigeria Limited, an agency company to the cargo owners, Mr. Tokunboh Akinsola, at a joint press conference with his principals in Lagos, Monday, said the vessel escaped Saturday evening with the three private guards on board.

Narrating the events leading to the escape of the vessel earlier on anchorage at Lister Jetty, Apapa, Mr. Akinsola said following the court order, the Western Naval Command, as well as the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), were duely informed about the development.

“The warrant of arrest, notice of arrest and order of arrest were all served on the MT Tritya and other relevant persons, including the Harbour Master of NPA, and the vessel detained at the Lister Jetty, Greek Road, Apapa, Lagos, by the bailiff of the court on July 9, 2007,” he said.

According to him, trouble started when it was observed that the vessel was blocking the berthing space at Lister Jetty thereby inhibiting other vessels on lawful operations, hence the “Harbour Master and Jetty owners mounted pressures”, and subsequently applied to the court for her relocation.
He said the court order granting the relocation of the vessel to either Commodore Pool or Tin Can Island Port, provided the safe ground for the ship captain to sail off on Saturday night at about 11: 00 pm.
Mr. Akinshola said even though the three private guards on board the vessel were engaged by the Admiralty Marshal of the Federal High Court, he was nonetheless in constant touch with them on telephone.

According to him, immediately the guards woke him up with the alarming news of her apparent escape on the Saturday night, he in-turn phoned the Harbour Master simply identified as Captain Uwak, to inform him about the discovery.

“Between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm that Saturday night when the vessel escaped with the poor Nigerian guards whom we fear may have been killed, I telephoned the Harbour Master more than three times and he kept on assuring me that his men would soon arrive at the jetty to take control.”
He said he was still in touch with the guards on phone till about noon on Sunday when their phones ran out-of-service, apparently at the Benin Republic High Sea.


Pleading on behalf of the cargo owners and the families of the three security guards, Mr. Akinsola urged the International Police (Interpol), Nigerian Embassies in Togo, Benin and Ghana as well as management of the Nigerian Maritime Safety and Administration Agency (NIMASA), to help track down the fleeing vessel.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.