Kunle Kalejaye 03 January 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has detained three British armed guards on-board three ships for allegedly threatening Nigeria’s maritime security.
The name of the detained ships are MT LILAC VICTORIA, MT UACC EAGLE and MT MORGANE, but, as at the time of filing this report, the names of the three Britons involved were yet to be ascertained
SweetcrudeReports reliably gathered that NIMASA got intelligence reports through its Satellite Surveillance Centre of the ships’ entrance into the country’s territorial waters from Ghana and Ivory Coast.
It was also gathered that the arrest of the ships started on the 27th of January, 2015. Attempt by this reporter to get the view of the British Embassy in Nigeria on the issue proved abortive after several calls and a text message.
Director, Shipping Development at NIMASA, Captain Waredi Enisouh, who confirmed the arrest to SweetcrudeReports, said all three ships had onboard British nationals linked to private registered security firms overseas that are specialised in giving trainings in the use of weapons.
Captain Enisouh explained that the private security firm signed an unconstitutional Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, and partnership with Nigeria security officials (name withheld) to provide security for merchant ships in Nigeria waters.
He described the MoU and the partnership as a threat to Nigeria’s maritime security with possibly far reaching consequences for the country.
“Nigeria did not sign up to the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, for the use of armed guards onboard ship,” Capt. Warredi Enisuoh said as he warned that any vessel that comes into country’s territorial waters with a foreign guard caught with arms or not would be detained, stressing that no cargo operation of any kind would be allowed into the country if found wanting.