By Godwin Oritse
THE controversial Mearsk Line vessel, M. V Nashville, alleged to have brought in toxic waste into Nigeria has been given clearance to sail back to the Netherlands, her country of loading with the particular container believed to contain the waste.
Disclosing this to Vanguard Wednesday, Customs Area Comptroller, CAC, of the Tin-Can Island Port Customs Command said the Federal Government had ordered the vessel to leave the shores of Nigeria after the content of a container in the vessel was ascertained and found not to be industrial waste but used fridges, air conditioners, heavy duty industrial batteries, tyres andÂ sundry items.
The container whose number was quoted as UESU-463595-0 was placed at the bottom part of the vessels, making it difficult for officials ofÂ National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, to fish it out from the vessel.
Officers and men of the Tin-Can Island Port Command of the Customs arrested and detained the vessel after the Nigerian Ports Authority raised an alarm days ahead ofÂ the arrival of the vessel.
Besides the arrest and detention of the vessel, her crew and agent Mr Victor Uyuokwu were also arrested and detained.
The vessel operated by American President Lines, APL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of a Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, has in its hold among other things 70 storage (lead) batteries classified as Basel codeA1180 and broken televisions.
The ship agent, it was learnt, is currently at the Intelligence Unit of the Tin -Can Island Customs Command.
Sources close to the Tin-Can Island Port Customs Command told Vanguard that the vessel actually arrived the country on the 9 April and discharged some of its contents at the Federal Ocean Terminal in Onne in Rivers State.
The vessel thenÂ left Onne and arrived Lagos on 11 April 2010 and was given a berthing space at Berth 7b immediately by the NPA.
The vessel met its waterloo following a memo from NESREA toÂ NPA , which in turn alertedÂ security agencies at the port.