10 October 2011

Nigeria, Ghana may clash over stolen ship:

There’s a looming diplomatic row between the maritime regulatory authorities of Ghana and Nigeria as a marine tanker vessel, MT Kemepade, declared missing in Nigeria has been found in Ghana, slated for urgent scrapping.

Already, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has reportedly sent a protest letter to the Presidency, through the Federal Ministry of Transport, expressing its displeasure that a tanker vessel which was declared missing in the Lagos anchorage on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 had been found in a ship yard at Tema Habour in Ghana with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number wipped off, contrary to laid down maritime norms.

International rules to which both Nigeria and Ghana subscribe to, stipulate that any vessel slated for scrapping must submit legitimate documents from its owners, past and present as well as the last certificating authority, all of which must be contacted for authentication, before any ship could be scrapped. A rule which NIMASA insisted Ghana, deliberately or othrwise, refused to follow.

The Nigerian Tribune was told that when the MT Kemepade was reported missing by its owner, it also had one sailor on board at the time.

It was further gathered that in line with its statutory responsibility to ensure the safety and security of ships on Nigerian waters, the management of NIMASA had sent signals to all neighbouring shipping and maritime regulatory authorities alerting them of the development and requesting for assistance, in case the vessel was sighted in their areas.

Source: The Nigerian Tribune. By Dele Aderibigbe, Lagos. 10 October 2011

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