By Kenneth Jukpor
One of the gun boats in the fleet of Global West Vessels Specialists (GWVS), NIMASA/Barugu sank at the weekend at the Kirikiri Terminal, behind the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Resource Center.
According to reports, the vessel sank at about 10:13pm on Saturday night despite efforts to salvage it by NIMASA from around 5:45pm.
While the video recording of the incident saw seafarers onboard attributed the misfortune to NIMASA’s negligence, the agency revealed that the vessel is subject to litigation and has been under custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The seafarers claimed that they have been reporting the impending disaster to NIMASA since January, but the agency’s Assistant Director, Public Relations, Mr. Osagie Edward stressed the litigation complications in his response, yesterday.
“While this is an unfortunate development, it is important to bring to the attention of all that this vessel under reference here is one of Global West boats that were in service with the Agency years ago. This boat has the name NIMASA-Barugu right from the days of the contract. There are also other boats in this contractual category in Warri.”
“Collectively, the boats and their management have remained a subject of litigation and under the custody of the EFCC for years,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the maritime agency claimed that it made concerted efforts towards reactivating a few of the serviceable boats in this fleet but was constrained by the legal encumbrances due to the nature of the case in court.
“As a law-abiding entity, we approached the matter under sound legal advisory. It must be stated that this vessel was not in our jetty and under our management at the time of the incident. The crew onboard does not report to NIMASA but to Global West management, its owners,” the report said.