NIMASA Seeks Help To Rescue Hijacked MT Sampatiki Vessel | Independent Newspapers Limited
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NIMASA Seeks Help To Rescue Hijacked MT Sampatiki Vessel

Posted: Apr 3, 2016 at 2:17 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Andrew Utulu, Lagos

The Nigeria Maritime Administration  and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has called for assistance from stakeholders including the Interpol Regional Bureau and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its quest to rescue  vessel, MT Sampatiki and five crew members, abducted when the vessel was hijacked off shore Niger Delta.

Director General NIMASA, Dr. Dakaku Peterside, made this known at the weekend during a press briefing in Lagos.

NIMASA also raised alarm over alleged and persistent pirates’ attacks on ships within the country’s waterways, noting that the attacks expressed the need to push for the quick passage of the Anti-Piracy Laws by the National Assembly.

This is coming on the heels of the recent attack and subsequent abduction of five crew members on board an oil tanker, MT SAPATIKI.

Independent investigations revealed that the MT SAPATIKI was loaded with gas and was hijacked by gunmen at Excravos in Delta State.

MT SAPATIKI was said to have arrived Port Harcourt port on March 21, 2016 loaded with Gas Oil.

It was allegedly detained by some Nigerian surveyors for some deficiencies before being allowed to sail out of the Port Harcourt Port on March 24, 2016.

Briefing newsmen in Lagos about the latest attack, Dr. Dakuku  said in the recent past, Nigerians have experienced some renewed incidences of piracy attacks and abduction of crew on board vessels sailing into the country’s waterways, noting that the latest was the hijacked and abduction of five crew members on board a Liberian flagged chemical tanker, MT Sampatiki offshore Niger Delta.

“MT Sampatiki arrived Port Harcourt port on March 21, 2016 loaded with Gas Oil. In fact, it was even detained by our surveyors for some deficiencies before being allowed to sail out of the Port Harcourt Port on March 24, 2016. Our government was informed of the piracy incidence on March 26, 2016.

“The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi immediately directed the Agency to investigate the incidence with a view to recovering both the abducted crew and the vessel.

“We immediately contacted the Nigerian Navy informing them of the incident and requested the deployment of the personnel and vessels in search of the crew and the vessel.

“We have also used our satellite surveillance facility in conjunction with intelligence from the Nigerian Navy and tracked the vessel, which is currently off shore Lome.

“While the search for the abducted crew members has been intensified, we have also made contacts with the Maritime Administrations of the Republic of Benin and that of Togo to ensure safe return of the vessel. We are also in touch with the flag state and the owners of MT Sampatiki.

“We have also contacted Interpol Regional Bureau and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to reach their respective bureaus in Togo with any useful information that may lead to the rescue of the vessel and crew.

“We can confirm that this morning the Togolese Maritime police were about to board the vessel to interview the crew,” he added.

The newly appointed NIMASA boss explained that as a fall out of the recent abduction incident, the agency has deployed some of its operational vessels manned by military personnel of the Maritime Guard Command (MGC) to enforce the security and guarantee 24 hours patrol of nation’s territorial waters especially off the coast of Qua Iboe and Brass in the Niger Delta where these incidences seem to be rampant.

He further explained that the agency recognized the importance of information in dealing with such a menace and that it would commit more resources into intelligence gathering and engenders greater collaboration with other Agencies in the maritime sector to rid our waters of criminality.

“The agency is currently pushing for the quick passage into Law the Anti Piracy Law. We hope that its passage will bring about the drastic reduction of criminal vices in the country’s waterways,” he said.

The DG promised that the agency would continue to work with the Ministry of Transportation, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the Federal Ministry of Justice, the National Assembly, the Nigerian Navy, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the INTERPOL and other stakeholders to pass an anti-piracy bill into law that will ensure the necessary framework to counter this menace.


Africans Migrate More Within African Countries – Report

 …. Remittance Inflows To Africa Hits $49bn In 2010

Sylvester Enoghase, Lagos

Africans migrate more from one Africa country to another, contrary to belief that almost every African migrates beyond the continent, a report by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has revealed.

The UNECA research report also showed that remittance inflows to Africa quadrupled between 1990 and 2010, reaching nearly 49 billion dollars in 2010, equivalent to an average of 2.6 per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Director, Social Development Policy Division, UNECA, Mrs. Takyiwaa Manuh, who gave highlight of the report entitled “Challenges of International Migration in Africa” at the ongoing African Development Week in Addis Ababa, made the revelation on Saturday.

Manuh said that the situation contained in the report was contrary to popular belief that Africans migrated more to other continents.

She said: “Media coverage and research on irregular migration and high death toll amongst those crossing the Mediterranean have falsely reinforced the belief that Africans migration is essentially directed towards Europe.

“Migration streams within Africa are much larger than those out of Africa. About 31 million of the continent’s population has migrated internationally. This is little more than 3 per cent of the continent’s population. More than half of those migrating internationally do so within Africa, with only about 28 per cent of migrants from Africa going to Europe. Of the total migrant stock in Europe, less than 12 percent are from Africa”.

“The proportion of remittances invested in food, health and education ranged from 30 per cent in Kenya and 37 per cent in Nigeria to 47 per cent in Burkina Faso and 67 per cent in Senegal.

“Thus, international migration has tremendous potential to improve development and welfare in origin countries,” she said, urging countries to embrace regional integration and border management to facilitate migration and visa-free travel for Africans in Africa.

She, however, appealed for consultative processes in the designing policies to secure the benefits of migration at global and regional levels, adding that designing policies should involve countries of destination and origin.