Captain Adewale Ishola, a former President of the National Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), has explained that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) cannot be blamed for the recent gunboat disaster, as it’s difficult to go into a vessel that had been impounded.
BizWatch Nigeria recalls that some days ago, NIMASA/Barugu, one of the gunboats in the fleet of Global West Vessels Specialists, sunk while being reportedly parked at the Kirikiri Terminal, Lagos, behind the NIMASA Resource Centre.
In a video that circulated online, seafarers onboard the adjoining vessels blamed NIMASA for negligence, claiming they had reported the impending disaster to the agency.
However, speaking on the situation, Ishola said NIMASA had earlier claimed that the vessel had been confiscated, adding that as such, it cannot be operated.
His words: “NIMASA has come out to say that the vessel was being confiscated, so why would I speak on a vessel that is under litigation.
“The maintenance and otherwise is between the EFCC and NIMASA so let them solve their problems. I cannot talk about that. According to NIMASA, the vessel belongs to Global West Vessel Specialist Limited which is under arrest.
“If NIMASA is not able to maintain it you cannot blame the agency because you are not allowed to go into a vessel when it is being impounded. You cannot operate a vessel that is under arrest.
“You cannot do anything when a vessel is under arrest. You cannot even enter there to do anything; you cannot trade, move, or maintain the vessel. This is a problem between NIMASA and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. It is a court matter and I do not want to get involved.”
Prior to this development, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved funds for the purchase of gunboats to tackle oil thieves.