The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has disclosed that it is working in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, the Indian High Commission in Nigeria and other security agencies towards resolving the reported hijacking of a tanker off the Nigerian coast.
The abducted vessel involves an incident involving a Palau flagged Tanker, MT APECUS, off the coast of Bonny, Nigeria.
The hijack of the vessel, with registration IMO no.7333810 and call sign no. T8WU, occurred on the 19th of April, 2019 and resulted in the abduction of seven crew comprised of five Indian nationals and two other individuals of unspecified nationality.
Speaking in Lagos on the hijack, the DG of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside while condemning the hijack and sympathizing with the victims, pledged the Agency’s commitment to the rescue, working with other relevant government security organization, noting that; “Preliminary investigations carried out by NIMASA into the vessel involved has thrown up several unresolved facts.
Firstly, the MT APECUS has been conducting trading activities in Nigerian waters since 2014 without any valid permits or documentation”.
It was further observed that the vessel has changed name and the flag under which she operates on no less than a combined fifteen (15) recorded instances with an additional five changes in call sign since 1993 and four MMSI changes whic
Before her hijack, she was spotted in Lome, Togo on the 26th of February, 2019 for an hour, Tema, Ghana for two hours on the 27th of February, 2019 and Lagos anchorage for twenty nine minutes on 2nd April 2019 until her eventual hijack on the 19th of April.
There are also indication that the vessel has a habit of switching off her Automatic Identification System (AIS) in order to avoid detection and had done the same thing prior to being attacked which had made locating her whereabouts extremely difficult.
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