BY GODWIN ORITSE
A stow away, who was arrested on board a vessel ‘M V Hyunda 202i’ is currently creating ripples in the maritime industry as the incident has pitched terminal operators against the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, who is suppose to provide security for vessels that call at Nigerian Ports.
The stow away Mr Kenn Chibonda is currently with the Police pending investigation.
Stevedoring firms and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, are blaming NIMASA for incessant arrest of stow aways on board vessels, for the non provision of security on board vessels that call at the ports.
In a response to a query issued to the Excellence Dominion (a stevedoring firm) by the management of Five Star logistics, the firm stated that the stow away could not have boarded the vessels from Nigerian Ports adding that the vessel had earlier called at Cotonou port.
The letter which was signed by Ebereonwu Williams and dated 28th of February 2011 noted that the said vessel spent less than 24 hours in Tin-Can Island port before she sailed back.
Ebereonwu explained that the name of the stow away does not sound like any known Nigerian tribe adding that it was also discovered that the name of the ship surveying firm does not exist in the port’s registry.
Part of the letter reads “In reference to your directives to furnish you on why our two man gang way security could not detect or stop the stow away boy Mr Kenn Chibonda found on board ‘M V Hyundai 202 that berthed on the 19th February at Tin-Can Five star logistics terminal and sailed on the 20th February 2011, I want to state that after careful examination of the identity of the stow away boy I discovered that our security men Mr Friday Usifo, Wasiu Jafar, D U Asibe, and Ikechukwu took record of all the people including all Federal Government agencies, Port Health, Immigration, Customs officers, ISPS/NPA officials and five star men on duty registered their names on our log book, kept their I.D. Cards and made sure that all persons that boarded the vessel indicated their time in and out before leaving the ship.
“The vessel did not spend more hours at Tin-Can Port since it berthed around 16:36, commence operation 18:10 and finished discharging the same night and sailed the next day 20th February 2011.
“There is no trace of such name on the security log book, the chief officer of the vessel signed and stamped that there was no incident on the log book before the ship saile”
He however advised that the stow away be compelled to declare his identity and from where he boarded the vessel.