Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), in collaboration with the
Nigerian Navy, the Indian High Commission in Nigeria and other security
agencies have commenced investigations into an incident involving a Palau
flagged Tanker, MT APECUS, off the coast of Bonny, Nigeria.
no.7333810 and call sign no. T8WU, occurred on the 19th of
April, 2019 and resulted in the abduction of seven crew comprised of five
Indian nationals and two other individuals of unspecified nationality.
in Lagos on the hijack, the DG of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside while condemning
the hijack and sympathizing with the victims, pledged the Agency’s commitment
to the rescue, working with other relevant government security organization,
noting that: “Preliminary investigations carried out by NIMASA into the vessel
involved has thrown up several unresolved facts. Firstly, the MT APECUS has
been conducting trading activities in Nigerian waters since 2014 without any
valid permits or documentation.”
was further observed that the vessel has changed name and the flag under which
she operates on no less than a combined fifteen (15) recorded instances with an
additional five changes in call sign since 1993 and four MMSI changes which all
point to her suspected involvement in illegal activities.
her hijack, she was spotted in Lome, Togo on the 26th of February, 2019 for an
hour, Tema, Ghana for two hours on the 27th of February, 2019 and Lagos
anchorage for twenty nine minutes on 2nd April 2019 until her eventual hijack
on the 19th of April.
also indicate the vessel was in the habit of switching off her Automatic
Identification System (AIS) in order to avoid detection and had done the same
thing prior to being attacked which had made locating her whereabouts extremely
difficult. There is no clarity on her business in Bonny area where the incident
is worth noting that the Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill, facilitated
by NIMASA, has been passed by the House of Representatives and had undergone
the second reading at the Senate, which NIMASA believe will help fight issue of
Piracy in our waters.
remains optimistic that the Bill, when passed into law will give the Agency
along with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies the necessary impetus
and framework to further fight all forms of maritime insecurity in Nigerian
territorial waters and the greater Gulf of Guinea maritime domain.