'Rogue Ship MT Madina Not Nigerian'


The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety  Agency (NIMASA) has declared that the controversial vessel, MT Madina, is not a Nigerian ship a week after its arrest in Ghana for alleged involvement in crude oil lifting.

The ship, which has been in detention in Ghana since her arrest on March 8, 2012 while discharging allegedly stolen crude into a private facility in Accra has since been in the custody of Ghanaian Navy.

But, yesterday, the Secretary General, Indigenous Shipowners Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Capt Niyi Labinjo told P.M.Maritime that the association had approached NIMASA for clarification on the status of the tanker.

“I can confirm to you that MT Madina is not  a Nigerian registered  ship, we (ISAN)  have approached NIMASA, we went to Ship Registry and they told us that it is not in the register,” he confirmed.

According to him, “after the ship was arrested, the Ghanaian authourities called Nigeria to confirm the status of the ship and NIMASA told them that it is not in their register”.

Confronted with the fact that MT Madina was flying a Nigerian flag when she was arrested, the ISAN scribe explained that the mere fact that she is flying the flag of a country in which she is not registered is enough reason for her arrest. “Any ship that does that has violated a condition that warrants her arrest and detention, such a ship is called a rogue ship,” he stressed.

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MT Madina was arrested and detained while attempting to discharge allegedly stolen crude oil at the Saltpond Offshore Producing Company Limited, in Ghana.

But, CEO of Saltpond Offshore Producing Company, Quincy Sintim Aboagye where the Madina was headed said that the company ensured that the ship was prevented from leaving the facility until officers of the Ghana Navy arrived.

The owners of the vessel who reportedly alerted security operatives along the west coasts reported that the ship was supposed to transfer oil from a small field in Nigeria into a larger ship, identified as the MT North Wind Grace, but the captain and crew instead allegedly decided to steal the cargo.

Consequently, the owners of the vessel alerted the Benin and Ghana security operatives and subsequently traced the ship to Ghana.

After the arrest, the Ghanaian authourities said they detained the MT Madina whilst it was attempting discharge the oil that was stolen from Nigeria.

Director of public relations at the Ghana Armed Forces; Colonel M’Bawine Atintande had confirmed that the ship was arrested after a tipoff from counterparts in Nigeria.

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