Nigerian Navy arrests Cameroonian vessel for alleged territorial breach
• Master blames Navy for lapse
The MV Anna Maria bearing passengers and goods drew the ire of the NN for allegedly failing to stop at Nigeria’s international maritime boundary in order to be escorted into the country’s territorial waters.
Commander of NNS Victory, Navy Commodore James Oluwole, told journalists in Calabar that would be released after due investigations.
“The problem of Calabar water channel is of international dimension. There is persistent kidnapping of vessels and captains from Cameroon all, which gives Nigeria a bad name. The Nigerian Navy has put in place proper strategy; unfortunately, the operators do not adhere to these instructions. One of the solutions is proper coordination.
“We detained the vessel because it berthed without information. The captain has written a statement to show that they had no patience to wait where we used to pick them. We will not tolerate this again. Proper timing and departure is the rule. We are determined to ensure that there is no harassment of vessel in our waterways.
“This is what we have resolved. The Navy is here to give you the best but you must cooperate. The Navy will continue to do its job. For the past three months, no vessel has been attack because of naval policing,” Oluwole said.
Master of the MV Anna Maria, Capt. Tankwa Dieudonne, who blamed NN officials for the lapse allegedly committed by his vessel, said that he sailed into Nigeria after waiting at the boundary for a long time.
He, however, apologised for his action, promising not to do so again.
The vessel was still being detained at the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) base in Calabar.
The NIWA Calabar Area Manager, Mr. Adetola Olawale, advised other vessel operators to learn to do the right thing to avoid running into trouble with the authorities.
Following rampant cases of piracy and kidnapping of crew members in the Gulf of Guinea, the NN top brass had since last January introduced the policy of Navy vessels escorting trading vessels entering and exiting Nigeria from the maritime boundaries with the Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, respectively.
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