Four months after pirates hijacked an oil tanker, MT MAXIMUS, the Nigerian Navy has recovered a rogue vessel, MT DEJIKUN used by the pirates.
Navy operatives had rescued the hijacked ship and some of its crew members last February off the coast of Cote D’Ivoire in an operation that left a pirate dead and six others arrested.
However, some of the pirates have reportedly fled, abducting two crew members of MT MAXIMUS and siphoning the 4,700 tonnes of diesel the oil tanker was carrying.
But the Navy with the help of its Beninnois counterpart recovered the vessel which was abandoned by the fleeing suspects in that country.
Briefing reporters yesterday at the Naval Dockyard, Apapa where the rogue vessel berthed, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai, said the owner of the vessel, Mustapha Sani has also been arrested.
He said Sani, alongside his accomplices have been handed over to the police for prosecution.
“The Beninese Navy discovered there was nobody onboard the ship and took custody of the vessel. ‘When they got the ship, they were able to recover some documents of the ship and during investigation, it was discovered that the owner of the ship is a Nigerian.
“The Navy operatives at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Badagry arrested the owner of the vessel along Seme Border while he was trying to flee the country after he was declared wanted. We also arrested the person who chartered the vessel from the owner and they are all in police custody. We will hand over the vessel to the police because they need the vessel to carry out their prosecution,” Bobai said.