The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Morlap Shipping Company Limited, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, has cried out, urging various Nigerian security agencies to investigate a recent incident in which one of his vessels, the MT Mor Prosperity, was alleged to have been involved in the loading and discharge of suspected stolen dual purpose kerosene (DPK).
Noting that his “company has since commencement in 1985 been involved in coastal tanker management, chartering, ownership and agency services,” Jolapamo, who is Chairman, Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), narrated in a press statement thus: “One of our vessel, MT Mor Prosperity of 18000+ DWT was chartered on a short time charter to Ax-Energy Limited of 8th Floor, UBA House, 57, Marina, Lagos whose Managing Director is Mr. Abdul Arisekola-Alao to load 15000MT AGO offshore Lagos for Lome discharge. I did not suspect any criminal motive because the cargo (i.e. AGO) to be loaded is deregulated coupled with the fact that the quantity cannot be suspected as ROB, pirated or cooked parcel as is been called in the illicit trade that is threatening to consume shipping development in the country.
“I managed to speak with the Captain of our vessel, Mor Prosperity on 21st of January, 2013 through the Turaya phone with charterers super cargo on-board where the Captain informed me that the vessel did not find the mother vessel at the position given on her voyage instruction but instead of returning to Lagos anchorage, went further at the charterer’s instruction to another location to receive DPK cargo from a ship he could not tell me the name or IMO No. e.t.c. except that the name is written in Arabic before the phone went off at my barrage of questioning.
“We contacted Benin and Togo Republic maritime authorities to help locate the vessel but it was a telephone call on 24th January from Mr. Jubril Rowaye of Brilla Energy saying his DPK cargo on-board his widely reported missing vessel, MT Itiri has found its way to my vessel. This prompted our official request to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy for assistance to locate our vessel.
“It was through the combined efforts of NIMASA and the Navy with assistance from the Nigerian Air Force that the vessel was located and brought back to Lagos from where she was abandoned deep offshore Escravos after extensive willful damage to vessel and her equipments to make it appear like a pirate’s attack.”
Jolapamo explained that his press statement was aimed at commending “the efforts of NIMASA, the Navy and the Air Force for rescuing the vessel whose name and funnel markings has been taken off for other ulterior motive,” while serving as a clarion call on the law enforcement agents such as the State Security Service (SSS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) “to investigate this saga especially the source of the DPK said to have been loaded and discharged by my vessel.”
The purpose of the press, according to him, is also “to draw the Federal Government’s attention to the menace and the level of economic sabotage being perpetrated in the shipping and oil trading activities, plus the negative effects on our national economy as well as our country’s image, and the fact that our waters may soon be turned to another Somalia if drastic action is not taken to put a stop to it now.”
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