Controversy Trails NIMASA Over Claims Of Rescuing Crew on Fire Stricken Ship

…Union Allege Crew Still Stranded in Apapa

Following claims by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) that it coordinated the rescue of some seafarers who were stranded onboard a 7,541 cbm tanker after the ship caught fire off the Nigerian coast, controversy has continued to trail the apex maritime agency over its claim.

This is even as DAILY TREND NEWS gathered that the rescued seafarers from the vessel; Sea Voyager, were still allegedly abandoned at an hotel in Apapa, while the fire onboard the vessel was reportedly still burning as at yesterday.

NIMASA had taken to its official twitter page; @nimasaofficial# two days ago to announce how it coordinated release of the crew in distress.

Speaking with our correspondent yesterday however, Vice President of the Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transporters Senior Staff Association, Eng Reginald Oyemnobi said the crew have been abandoned in Apapa.

He said it was the Nigerian Navy that actually played a role in the rescue of the seafarers.

Also speaking with our correspondent, a reliable source, a senior naval officer from the Western Naval Command faulted NIMASA’s claim of haven played a role in the search and rescue process of the stranded crew.

Speaking, the merchant navy vice president queried that  “Where are the people they (NIMASA) rescued? The managers are complaining till today, they have been stranded somewhere in Apapa, I was with them yesterday”

“If you have rescued somebody, you should be able to say this is where they are”

“The report we for now is that there is still fire onboard that vessel”

“The crew were complaining that contrary to NIMASA claim, they never came for their rescue. The owners of the vessel managed to rescue the crew and kept them in an hotel”

“As far as I am concerned, these boys are stranded somewhere in Apapa hotel, the owners are complaining and the seafarers are complaining”

“Who is giving you information from NIMASA search and rescue? The ship managers told me that they called and called but nobody answered”

“According to the crew, the Nigerian Navy made an input in their rescue, we are not denying the Navy, their report says that the Navy came, but NIMASA never went there, and up till now, I don’t think NIMASA has done anything” Eng Oyemnobi said

The reliable source from the Navy who had spoken earlier with our correspondent on the issue also faulted NIMASA’s account of the story.

He said “This case involves me directly and I am shocked at the story I read online, we could not sleep that night, I slept around 2am because of these people, only for me to see claims this morning that NIMASA rescued the crew”

“People went to sea to go and rescue the crew alongside, I am surprised at this kind of report, do you know what these crew passed through before they were rescued? I have all their names and information, It is like someone doing an assignment and reading what you did from a different perspective” he lamented

The incident involving the vessel ,Sea Voyager, occurred at the Lagos anchorage on August 15, according to NIMASA.

Sea Voyager, previously known as Al Wahda, is operated by Nigeria’s Sea Transport Group. The oil products tanker was built at Korean Daedong shipyard in 1992, data provided by VesselsValue shows.

In January last year, the 6,700 dwt Sea Voyager was involved in another incident when it ran aground off Warri coast in Nigeria.

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