In the wake of the recent attack on a tanker vessel named, ‘Nave Constellation’, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that the operators of the vessel were attacked because they failed to establish contact with relevant authorities after entering Nigerian waters.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated this in Abuja while speaking with journalists.
He alleged that the vessel had operated on Nigerian waters for ten days before it was attacked by pirates.
He however assured that notwithstanding these shortcomings, NIMASA is working with relevant partners to ensure the crew onboard are secured and safe.
Recall that the tanker was attacked off the coast of Bonny with nineteen persons alleged to have been picked up leaving nine crew members onboard the vessel.
“The operators of the vessel made contact with NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy and we immediately went to work”
“The vessel owners had operated for ten days, within our territorial waters yet didn’t establish contact with the Harbour Masters. It also didn’t establish contact with the authorities in Nigeria. “However, that isn’t an issue because life is more precious than any other consideration”
“We have also immediately contacted the naval unit around that area and they have gone to work. The Navy has established contact with the remaining crew members onboard the vessel and the nine persons onboard the vessel are safe and the vessel is safe”
The DG who lamented that this is happening at a time that efforts are being put together to make Nigerian waterways safe gave the assurance that the Agency will not rest on its oars.
“I think this would ultimately serve as catalyst for us to fast-track what we are doing to safeguard our waterways so that commerce can thrive again and people can do economic activities without fear or hindrance”.
While sympathizing with the victims and their families for the ordeal and challenges of being kidnapped, he urged every concerned citizen and stakeholders to come together and work with NIMASA and relevant security Agencies to end the menace.