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NIMASA, NLNG collaboration rescued MV ORC4 Vessel, says Dakuku

Dr. Dakuku Peterside, DG NIMASA
The Nigerian
Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)
on Tuesday clarified issues surrounding
an alleged abandonment of a vessel in distress.

In a statement by the NIMASA Spokesman, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, the Agency
refuted the allegation by some media publication

that it failed to provide assistance to MV ORC4
, which was in distress.
It said that contrary to the false report which claimed that NIMASA and NLNG
failed to provide assistance to a distressed vessel, resulting in the sinking
of the vessel and loss of lives; the truth is that NIMASA and NLNG actually
saved the vessel through its Search and Rescue Operations.
It continued that the
said fishing vessel did not sink and is currently at the ORC Jetty at Kirikiri
Lighter Terminal in Lagos where it was safely towed after rescue.
Setting the records
clear, it said
NIMASA Search and Rescue Control Room received a
distress call at about 20:00hrs on 6th Feb 2019 that a Vessel MV ORC 4 (ORC IV)
was on fire at Bonny Anchorage and that the crew were abandoning the vessel.

The Agency’s Search and Rescue Station swung into
action and relayed the emergency call to shipping within the area in line with
its statutory mandate as enshrined in SS.22(1) and SS.22(4) of the NIMASA Act
2007 and S.2(1) of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 on Maritime Safety. 
After preliminary
investigation and assessment of the distress, the Agency immediately sought
collaboration with the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) whose firefighting
tug was closest to the scene to assist in bringing the situation under control
along with other neighbouring vessels who collaborated in the rescue exercise,
in line with global shipping standard. 
Accordingly, the
NLNG immediately swung into action by dispatching the firefighting tug boat
named; CTOW ANN SOPHIE to the scene which was used to extinguish the
fire.  The crew onboard were safely evacuated and the vessel safely towed
to her owner’s jetty where she is currently undergoing repairs.”
According to the statement,  the Head, Maritime Safety
and Seafarers Standards Department of the Agency, Captain Sunday Umoren
, while commending the support of Atlantic Shrimpers’ vessels ,
his team and NLNG for the successful operation in saving the fishing vessel
further clarified the misconception as reported in the media, and said: “there
is a difference between emergency and salvage operations. Saving of lives is
the mandatory action during an emergency and should be treated with top
priority, but saving an asset is salvage, which is never free
He also stated that
usually, to save time, the salvor and the Master of the Vessel (to be salvaged)
will agree for the operation to be under Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF), an
international agreement which is a standard form contract for a proposed marine
salvage operation which is aimed at eliminating pre-salvage negotiations
deferring such to be decided by Arbitrators on completion of the salvage
On the incident, the
Head of Maritime Safety Department further hinted that post incident analysis
would be conducted and recommendations put forward especially on fixed
firefighting systems on fishing vessels and that lessons learnt from the
incident will be shared with stakeholders in the shipping industry.
Also, in a letter
titled “Appreciation for Support During Fire Incident on Board ORCiv Trawler”
addressed to the Director General Dr. Dakuku Peterside on February 11, 2019,
the Group Managing Director of ORCiv Fishing and Food Processing Limited, Rahul
Savara, thanked the Agency for the rescue efforts.
In his words, “We
would like to sincerely appreciate Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC)
for every assistance provided during the fire incident. Your timely support in
dousing the fire aided in reducing the material loss that would have been
incurred as a result of the incident. Please remain assured of our utmost
regards and best wishes.” 
recalls that in a recent interactive session with journalists in Lagos, the
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside made it known that the Agency
would continue to engage relevant stakeholders on the need for a sustained
collaboration to develop the sector. 
It pledged continuous commitment to its mandate of ensuring it realizes a robust
maritime sector, which includes; safety of lives and maritime assets, search
and rescue Operations amongst others.

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