By: Samson Echenim
Dare-devil hijackers of ships now pose as business people wanting to hire vessels in a bid to carry out their criminal acts, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has warned.
NIMASA raised the alarm to all ship owners, shipping agents and mariners of the latest antics of ‚Äúsyndicate ship hijackers posing as ship chatterers,‚Äù in a marine notice with reference number MNI 08/13/SN02, entitled: ‚ÄúBeware, Syndicate Ship Hijackers Posing As Ship Chatterers.‚Äù
The agency, in the notice, observed that this new trend in the clandestine operations of ship hijackers and sea-based robbers syndicate operating in the West African coast.
‚ÄúMembers of the vessels hijack syndicate pose as ship chatterers seeking to hire vessels for petroleum liquids ship-to-ship operations,‚Äù the apex maritime agency warned in the notice.
By this notice, unsuspecting ship owners and agents were warned of the nefarious activities of these charlatans who deploy the vessels for forceful and criminal transfer of stolen petroleum products from hijacked tanker vessels and further advised to request valid documentations and clearance issued by relevant regulatory authorities from prospective chatterers or their agents.
‚ÄúSuch documentations may be authenticated at the agency prior to release of tanker ships or barges to supposed chatterers. Ship owners or agents shall be liable for illicit activities of the syndicate who abandon such chattered vessels at sea to evade arrest,‚Äù it said.