• Thu. Sep 29th, 2022

    FALSE ALARM OF PIRATE ATTACK: Nigerian Navy Will Take Every Possible Measures In Ensuring Safety, Security Of Nigeria’s Maritime Environment

    ByHyacinth Chinweuba

    Aug 18, 2022

    During a routine cruise on Sunday, August 7, 2022, Nigerian Navy personnel saw and reported the unusual presence of Motor Tanker (MT) HEROIC IDUN at the Akpo Oil Field, Deep Offshore Bonny.

    This was stated in a press release given to Hybrid News and signed by Commodore AO Ayo-Vaughan, the Naval Director of Information.

    The Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) with IMO Number: 9858058 is a 336 meter long tanker with a carrying capacity of 299,995 MT, according to the statement. Hunter Tankers AS, a Norwegian company with its headquarters in Scandinavia, is said to be the owner, although Trafigura Maritime Logistics, a Dutch company, is in charge of running it.

    “The vessel had arrived at the Total Safe Anchorage (SA) run by Akpo Oil Field for loading operations, but after being questioned by the Nigerian Navy, it was discovered that it lacked the necessary NNPC approval. Nevertheless, on August 8, 2022, MT HEROIC IDUN went through with the loading operation at the Akpo Single Buoy Mooring (SBM).”

    The Nigerian Navy Ship GONGOLA prevented MT HEROIC IDUN from continuing since she had not submitted her NNPC approval paperwork for the loading procedure.

    The captain of the MT HEROIC IDUN then disclosed that he had been told not to follow any orders from the Nigerian Navy by Messrs Inchape Shipping, the company that owns IDUN Maritime Limited.

    The supertanker then fled toward the Nigeria Sao Tome Joint Development Zone Area after the VLCC refused to halt when NNS GONGOLA asked it to. MT HEROIC IDUN claimed her contact with NNS GONGOLA as a sea robbery/pirate attack on several international maritime security watch platforms in an effort to be sneaky and rationalize her escape.

    Rear Admiral Istifanus Albarra, the head of the Regional Centre for Maritime Security for West Africa in Abidjan, also revealed and debunked this false report of a pirate attack or sea robbery. He stated that, “On August 9, 2022, the Regional Centre (CRESMAO) received a report from the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) Zone E on an attempted boarding of a Tanker between 10 to 15 Nautical Mile (Nm) of

    The vessel, a VLCC HEROIC IDUNIN (IMO 98580581) with a registration from the Marshall Islands, entered Nigerian seas with the aim of loading crude oil from the Akpo offshore oil facility. The Nigerian Navy sent a vessel to investigate after learning from intelligence that the vessel lacked the appropriate authorization to transport crude oil from the terminal.

    The tanker lacked the necessary papers for the intended purpose, according to an investigation conducted via radio contact with the vessel.

    In addition, the Statement noted that “the Head of CRESMAO confirmed that the Captain of the Tanker refused to cooperate and instead switched course towards Sao-Tome and Principe and afterwards intentionally raised false alarm to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) that she was under pirate attack.”

    IMB subsequently disseminated this material to the pertinent international authorities and parties.

    The Admiral made a note of, “Due to the aforementioned, it is crucial that incidents, particularly those involving piracy, be verified with the appropriate authorities (notably the Yaounde Architecture) before being aired.

    This is done to avoid creating erroneous alerts, particularly now that the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain has shown a sharp decline in marine incidents compared to two years earlier. IMB is therefore urged to stop this alert broadcast, work with the relevant authorities, and disseminate accurate information “.

    The news of the arrest of MT HEROIC IDUN by the Equatorial-Guinean Navy (EGN) on August 12, 2022, barely 4 days after the supertanker assumed she had evaded arrest by the Nigerian Navy and also made a false alarm of a sea robbery/pirate attack that never happened, was welcome with great satisfaction by the Nigerian Navy as a demonstration of the renewed cooperation and collaboration among the Gulf of Guinea nations.

    According to Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, “Equatorial Guinea stopped the MV HEROIC IDUN on the afternoon of August 12, 2022, offshore the Island of Annobon.” The ship was escorted by the EGN to Luba, where it arrived on August 13, 2022.

    This incident confirms the region’s renewed commitment to working together and coordinating for a safe and secure Gulf of Guinea maritime domain that will ensure the growth of a sustainable blue economy and the achievement of the Yaoundé Architecture’s objectives.

    The Nigerian Navy would stop at nothing to ensure the safety and security of Nigeria’s marine environment (NME), as well as the adherence of due process and existing regulations by all maritime players inside the NME, in the words of Ayo-Vaughan.

    Hyacinth Chinweuba

    HYACINTH Chinweuba is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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