The Nigerian Navy (NN) said it has arrested a ship flying a Dutch flag, loaded with arms and ammunition. The merchant vessel, named Myre Seadiver Aviatu, marked E5U2529, was arrested, weekend, during a patrol of the waterways by personnel of the Western Naval Command. Also arrested were the 15 foreign crew members.
The vessel which is currently in the custody of the Nigerian Navy at Beecroft Habour, Apapa, was said to have left Cook Island in the South Pacific; but the destination of the ship could not be ascertained as the Navy said investigation was still on.
Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda, confirming the arrest yesterday, said there were assorted AK 47 riffles and Benelli MRI 20 barrel riffles, 14 AK 47 riffles, 20 barrel riffles and 8,598 ammunition in the vessel. According to him, majority of the crew members were Russians.
Ikioda said: “The vessel was arrested by NN patrol boats at the Lagos Roadstead on suspicion of carrying arms and ammunition on board… In pursuant of part of our activities in Lagos which is to ensure we create a conducive maritime environment, anytime we see anything trying to infringe that part of our effort, we arrest it. That is what led to the arrest of this ship.”
According to him, preliminary investigation showed that the ship came in without due certification. He also noted that “the ship also had weapons which is an infringement on the country’s law.” Information gathered from the ship’s website revealed that it was built in 1965 and that its operation had been suspended following the arrest.