The Chairman, Morlap Shipping Company Limited, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, has expressed satisfaction over the way Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigeria Navy, and the Air Force responded in handling his rescued ship, MT More Prosperity.
He did this at a press briefing in Lagos where he said the ship, which was chartered on a short time to Ax Energy Limited, Marina Lagos to load AGO offshore Lagos to Lome, discharged but was later to be discovered to be loaded with goods suspected to be stolen.
Jolapamo explained that it was the combined efforts of NIMASA and other security operatives that helped to locate the vessel, which was brought back to Lagos from where it was abandoned deep offshore Escravos after extensive wilful damage to the vessel and its equipment so as to make it appear like a pirate attack.
He called on the security and law enforcement agencies in the country to thoroughly investigate the issue, especially the source of the DPK said to have to have been loaded and discharged by the company’s vessel.
He further drew the Federal Government’s attention to the menace and level of economic sabotage being perpetrated in the shipping and oil trading industry and the negative effect it is causing on the country’s economy.
“Our country’s image and the fact that our waters may soon be turned to another Somalia if drastic action is not taken to put a stop to it now”, he said.
Jolapamo pointed out that when he suspected some anomalies, he contacted the Captain of the vessel through Turaya phone. He said that the vessel did not find the mother vessel at the position given on her voyage instruction. But instead of returning to Lagos anchorage, the captain went further at the charterers’ instruction to another location to receive DPK cargo from a ship he could not tell the name and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number amongst others.
“We contacted Benin and Togo Republic Maritime Authorities to help locate the vessel, but it was a telephone call on January 24, 2013 from Mr. Jubril Rowaye of Brilla Energy, saying his DPK cargo on board his widely-reported missing vessel, MT Itiri has found its way to my vessel. This prompted our official request to NIMASA and the Navy for assistance to locate our vessel”, he said.