FINDINGS have revealed that a fishing and research vessel donated by the Japanese Government to the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology (FCF&MT) in Lagos has been stolen by pirates. This is even as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) disclosed that it has been able to trace the missing vessel to neighbouring Cameroun.
Investigation showed that the vessel, Sarki Baraka, is a 1982 built Panama flagged vessel with IMO number 8103107, MMSI: 371759000 Call Sign: HO4222. It has a Gross Tonnage of 1091 and Deadweight: 1200. The length overall and breadth extreme is 68.58m × 12.5m
Speaking on the development recently, NIMASA Executive Director of Operations, Engr Rotimi Fashakin explained that the vessel was donated to the college by the Japanese government for purposes of training but was stolen from where it was anchored by pirates in Lagos.
He said that when the FCF&MT realised that the vessel had been stolen, it notified NIMASA and the agency moved to recover the stolen vessel.
He said the agency had moved swiftly into action and that he had constituted his Special Assistant and some staff to search for the vessel.
“FCF&MT just told us that their training vessel was missing, so we had to move in and search for it because NIMASA is charged with ensuring and promoting indigenous shipping in Nigeria. We had to move in with the deployment of the right tools.
“There is a great collaboration in the shipping business, information sharing is one of the cardinal means of ensuring that global shipping is safe and secure.
“Through that collaborative effort, we were able to get Cameroun telling us that the vessel was found in their country,” Fashakin stated while fielding questions during a maritime event held last week.
A reliable source at the FCF&MT also confirmed that the vessel had been missing for some time now, and that the college had notified NIMASA concerning the theft of the training vessel.
Efforts to speak with the school authority for more clarification proved abortive as repeated phone calls placed to the Rector of the Academy, Dr Sule Abdullahi were not answered.