Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS Delta) Warri, Delta State yesterday handed over a motor vessel, MV Fendercare 1 and it’s 11 crew members to officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for further investigations over alleged violation of maritime regulations.
The arrested crew members are Friday Obibi (Captain); Echika Ukwuwa; Age Ebitigha; Ogaga Moses; Jerry Mebaghandu; Cyril Etukudo; Oritsegbemi Okotie; Durowaiye Timothy; Arighaye Rotimi; Obi Chijindu and Nwankwo Onyeka.
Commander of NNS Delta, Rear Admiral Ibrahim Dewu, said the vessel and crew members were arrested last Sunday at Escravos waters in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Rear Admiral Dewu, who was represented at the handing over ceremony by the Executive Officer, NNS Delta, Navy Captain Anthony Kujoh disclosed that the vessel and the crew members were arrested by operatives of the Nigerian Navy while on patrol of the area.
He said the vessel’s AIS was switched off at the time of arrest which aroused the curiosity of the naval patrol team since such action contravenes maritime regulations.
“When a vessel switch off its AIS, which contravenes maritime regulations, it is always done whenever there is something suspicious.
“From investigations, we also found out that the vessel did not have any valid approval to operate within Nigerian waters neither did it have any valid DPR certification to operate within our areas of responsibility,” he said.
Rear Admiral Dewu warned all criminals within the NNS Delta’s area of responsibility to change and engage themselves in lawful ventures or face the wrath of the law.
“I am warning criminals to steer clear of our area of responsibility because we will do all things necessary to ensure they are arrested and face the full weight of the law,” he added.
Receiving the arrested vessel and crew members, NIMASA Central Zone, Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Femowei Abel commended NNS Delta for partnering with the Agency in ensuring adequate security on the waterways.