Dare-devil hijackers of ships now pose as business people wanting to hire vessels in a bid to carry out their criminal acts, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has warned.
NIMASA raised the alarm to all ship owners, shipping agents and mariners of the latest antics of “syndicate ship hijackers posing as ship charterers,” in a marine notice with reference number MNI 08/13/SN02, entitled: “Beware, Syndicate Ship Hijackers Posing As Ship Charterers.”
The agency, in the notice, observed that this new trend in the clandestine operations of ship hijackers and sea-based robbers syndicate operating in the West African coast.
“Members of the vessels hijack syndicate pose as ship charterers seeking to hire vessels for petroleum liquids ship-to-ship operations,” the apex maritime agency warned in the notice.
By this notice, unsuspecting ship owners and agents were warned of the nefarious activities of these charlatans who deploy the vessels for forceful and criminal transfer of stolen petroleum products from hijacked tanker vessels and further advised to request valid documentations and clearance issued by relevant regulatory authorities from prospective charterers or their agents.
“Such documentations may be authenticated at the agency prior to release of tanker ships or barges to supposed chatterers. Ship owners or agents shall be liable for illicit activities of the syndicate who abandon such chattered vessels at sea to evade arrest,” it said.
Information from Leadership was used in this report.