Navy intercepts Russian vessel

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The ship was found to be carrying arms

Officers of the Nigerian Navy have arrested a Russian vessel, MV Myre Seadiver, on suspicion of carrying arms and ammunition at the Lagos roadstead, Rear-Adm Ameen Ikioda, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, told journalists in Lagos on Monday.

Ikioda said that the vessel was arrested on Saturday by naval patrol boats.

According to him, nine crew members of the vessel, mostly Russians, were arrested on board the ship which was flying Dutch Island flag and issuspected to belong to the Moran group of Moscow.

Ikioda alleged that some of the arms recovered were 14 AK 47 rifles with 3,643 ammunition; 22 barrel rifles, with 4,955 ammunition and an arm, called Benelli MR1, with 20 rifles.

“We discovered that the vessel came into our waters without due notification and has some weapons inside, which is an infringement on the laws of Nigeria,” he said.

It would be recalled that a Libyan ship, MT Alyarmouk, was impounded on June 2 for allegedly operating illegally on Nigerian waters. The ship, which was impounded by a combined team of officers of the Nigerian Navy, the National Maritime and Administration and Safety Agency, and a private security firm, Global West Vessel Specialist, escaped a couple of days later, prompting the establishment of a special naval team.

Three weeks after the Libyan ship incident, a French ship, MT Vannessa, which has allegedly been stealing 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the country since June 9, was impounded by the special naval team.

Six crew members, including two Britons, two Nigerians and two Togolese, were also arrested, with investigations showing that the ship might have stolen 8.5m barrels of crude oil.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, has emphasised the Navy?s commitment to eradicating illegal bunkering and oil theft.

Ezeoba, who was on two-day official visit to naval formations in Lagos, said the Naval High Command was ready to move the Nigerian Navy forward.

He said that the Navy would, from the next two weeks, focus on areas such as infrastructure and capacity building.

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