Reports from Twin Stomp Energy Limited, a Nigerian owned company and the owners of the sunken vessel, MT Tank that was involved in a collision with another vessel from a Greek company in which the lives of 9 crew members were lost last week, indicates that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has intentions to shield them from liability including possible prosecution.
According to the Managing Director of Twin Stomp Energy Limited, Mr. Tosin Kolawole, “NIMASA, the agency of government responsible for administration and safety issues on Nigeria waterways so far has not been quite cooperative, and in fact failed to ensure a thorough investigation into the matter, even a mere accident where properties were damaged, there has to be an investigation in order to determine the remote cause of the accident not to mention an accident in which apart from the loss of the ship MT Tank, out of the 12 crew on board,3 were rescued alive, while the remaining 9, including a Ghanaian, are dead with only 1 body so far recovered
Kolawole lamented, “NIMASA to our knowledge till date is yet to commence any investigation into the matter. We are yet to be paid a visit by the police and navy in the process of any investigation. The MT Elixir and its crew remained on board its vessel, and have not been invited by relevant law enforcement agencies for questioning. We delivered petitions to all relevant law enforcement agencies including the police and navy. These agencies have made attempts to go into the matter, but NIMASA has not made that a possibility. As a matter of fact, all the steps taken indicates some sinister motive on the part of NIMASA towards a cover-up end.”
He asserted, “the vessel which had 12 crew on board as Nigerians except for one Ghanaian was cleared to embark, and did embark on a trip to Port Harcourt on Sunday, The MT Tank was sunk by a foreign vessel, owned by Greeks, ship MT Elixir in an accident along Bonga Terminal, offshore Warri, in Delta State and information reaching us indicates that the ship was not at all meant for Nigerians waterways at the time of the accident.”
He enumerated the rescued crew as Magaji Joshua, Moses Apobowei and Sambo Mohammed stressing that, NIMASA has refused to enlist the support of the police and the navy NIMASA has refused to involve relevant government agencies, in particular the police and the navy despite our repeated requests
He alleged, “This is not the first time incidence like this happen on our waterways; Bigger foreign vessels come within our waterways and recklessly and maliciously wreak havoc on us. Ship accidents have been recorded, leading to loss of Nigerian lives. A recent occurrence was on the 21st December 2013 when MT Niki C, a foreign vessel, and MT Charon collided, Two Nigerian crew were killed in the process, the accident was reported but till date no investigation was carried out by NIMASA, Police and the Navy. The case was successfully buried by NIMASA
Our people are gruesomely being murdered by these foreigners and NIMASA prefers to shield them. Our dead crew left young families and other dependents behind. We have lost our ship, our means of livelihood. Being an agency of government, NIMASA owes Nigerians the obligation to protect our lives and property, and where we have lost anything, NIMASA should ensure that justice is served and we are adequately, compensated rather NIMASA has been threatening to allow the MT Elixir sail out of the country. He added.
Kolawole called on well-meaning Nigerians to call NIMASA to order to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, noting that only the law court can sit to determine the innocence of the foreign vessel and its crew.