By Oko Ebuka
In the wake of the recent attack on a tanker vessel named, ‘Nave Constellation’, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said that the Agency is working in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy, NN, to ensure the release of the abducted seafarers as well as securing the lives of the remaining crew onboard.
About 19 crew members on board the vessel which was attacked off the coast of Bonny, Rivers State, were abducted leaving nine others behind.
The Agency, however, noted that the vessel owners had operated for ten days within the country’s territorial waters but didn’t establish contact with the Harbour Masters.
In a press statement yesterday, the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Perterside, said that the Agency have contacted the Naval Unit around the area of the incident to take necessary actions.
He stated: “The Navy has established contact with the remaining crew members on board the vessel and the nine persons on board the vessel are safe and the vessel is safe”
Peterside who lamented that this is happening at a time that efforts are being put together to make Nigerian waterways safe gave the assurance that the Agency will not rest on its oars.
He said: “I think this would ultimately serve as a catalyst for us to fast-track what we are doing to safeguard our waterways so that commerce can thrive again and people can do economic activities without fear or hindrance”.
While sympathizing with the victims and their families for the ordeal and challenges of being kidnapped, he urged every concerned citizen and stakeholders to come together and work with NIMASA and relevant security agencies to end the menace.
It may be recalled that Nigeria recently hosted a Global Maritime Security Conference, GMSC, where several engagements with stakeholders from all over the world, on the global maritime scale towards enhancing collaboration among maritime nations in order to find lasting solution to the security issues on the Gulf of Guinea and on the entire West and Central Africa.