14 August 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS –THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Monday, arrested 10 suspected pirates alleged to have attacked a NIMASA patrol boat causing the death of the Managing Director of Global West Vessel Specialist Ltd, Captain Romeo Itima.
Parading the suspects before newsmen, NIMASA’s Public Relations Officer, Hajia Lami Tumaka said the suspected pirates were arrested on board a tanker vessel ‘M. T Ocean Treasure’ following intelligence report.
According to her, the agency in collaboration with other security agencies which included the Nigeria Navy, and the Nigerian Air Force swung into action immediately the incident was reported. This led to the arrest of both the vessel and its crew.
The agency’s spokesperson noted that the boat had to beat a retreat to the mother vessel since it did not envisage the attack.
She stated that NIMASA had spread its tentacles across every nook and cranny of the country, adding that unknown to the arrested suspects, the agency has been following the case.
Her words: “What happened was that because of the attack, the boat ran short of fuel and that was why it headed towards Escravos to refuel when this unfortunate incident happened.
“Captain Romeo is one of a kind and since this incident happened, we did not go to sleep, we had our tentacles spread out, we gathered intelligence report and we have been following the case unknown to them, and it was through this intelligence gathering we found that these were the people involved in the attack”.
Remember that it was only Captain Romeo that died, there were seven people on board that boat so they know the culprits when they see them”.
Speaking in similar vein, NIMASA head of Maritime Guard Command, Navy Captain Promise Dappa said that the suspects have been in protective custody since they were arrested at the weekend adding that they will be handed over to the appropriate authority to continue with investigation.