Despite the Federal
Government’s efforts in deploying 30 gunboats to patrol and police the waterways and creeks in the Niger Delta during the just-concluded elections in the country, armed men suspected to be sea pirates have attacked an offshore vessel near Bonny Island in Rivers State.
A source told The Tide correspondent in Port Harcourt that six armed men stormed the offshore vessel FPSO, and after some sporadic shooting, boarded the vessel and allegedly abducted three crew members of the boat away to an unknown destination.
The source revealed that the fate of the abducted men was still unknown.
However, the source could not ascertain if the gunboats so deployed would be withdrawn after the election as they are originally meant to police oil pipelines vandalisation in the Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, another report has it that an attempt by some sea pirates to attack another vessel about 22 nautical miles off the coast of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was foiled by the Nigerian Navy.
A source who told our correspondent in Port Harcourt could not ascertain if there were casualties.
Another source also disclosed that three armed pirates boarded an offshore supply vessel MV Wide beast in the INIM field, off the coast of Akwa-Ibom State.
The source said all the crew members on board were mustered in the ship’s citadel and a distress call was made and MV Augustina quickly responded.
But before the arrival of MV Augustina to repel the attack, the pirates had disembarked from the vessel and sped-off with their boat.
It was not clear as at the time of filing this report whether the sea pirates were able to cart away anything from the vessel.
When contacted in his office in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the Eastern Zonal Co-ordinator of NIMASA, Mr Anthony Ogadi said there was no official report of such incident to his office as gunboats were dispatched every morning at Bonny to patrol and police the area.
Ogadi noted that if such attack actually took place, his office would be the first to know, pointing out that it might be the local crafts that are not registered with NIMASA, and when they are called for a workshop, they felt reluctant that they knew the terrian.
NPA Warns Against Illegal Containers Stripping On Port Access Roads
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has warned against the illegal stripping of containers by drivers and terminal operators along the port access road.
Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, issued the warning during a visit to Tin-Can Island Port where he inspected designated container stripping yards around the port.
He warned that truckers caught in the act stand the risk of being delisted from the electronic call-up system platform managed by the Trucks Transit Parks (TTP).
Bello Koko said container stripping on the port access road violates operational guidelines and will no longer be condoned.
He also announced that NPA has rolled out standard operating procedures for barge operators.
BMTA Urges FG To Fix Moribund Refineries
Following the incessant hikes on petroleum pump price in the country, Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to fix all the moribund refineries to production capacity
The Association said the repairs of the refineries would reduce the high cost of petrol pump price and alleviate poverty in the land.
Safety officer, BMTA, Comrade Kings Dume, stated this to TheTide during an interview in Port Harcourt.
Dume, who decried the hardship ordinary Nigerians were facing, said boat users hardly travel by water due to high cost of transport fare.
He said a boat journey from Port Harcourt to Bonny Island now cost between N6000 and N6500 per passenger, making it difficulty for travelers to board boats to and from their home town.
According to him, if the pump price keeps skyrocketing, there is every tendency that boat fare may be increased from N6000 to N8000 per passenger this Christmas season
He further noted that the inability of the Federal Government to repair the refineries has brought untold hardships, hunger and suffering to homes.
“Cost of living has skyrocketed everywhere and everyday, the poor can no longer go to market, parents can no longer pay bills and most children have dropped from schools due to poverty and hardships”, he stated.
He lamented that most boat operators were no longer in business due to high cost of procuring spare parts, engine oil and patrol to power their boats.
Comrade Dume appealed to the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government to see reasons and fix all the moribund refineries for use to end hardship and poverty ravaging the land.
He noted that the repair of the refineries by this administration “would bring succour and confidence to an average Nigerian”.
Customs Partners Copyright Commission To End Piracy
In a bid to end all forms of piracy and other social vices, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed readiness to collaborate with the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to end piracy of intellectual and creative property in Nigeria.
Customs said their collaboration would create opportunities for the two parties to establish a significant legacy that will end the menace of piracy in the country.
Comptroller General, Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, disclosed this while receiving members of the Commission at the Customs Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.
He explained that the NCS had concluded plans to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, enhancing its programmes in all aspects through creative activities and training of its staff.
On the need to organize training for the Service’s officers in combating piracy, Adeniyi said, “the programme will introduce officers and men of the Service to new values and expertise that would enhance their capacity and morale to fight piracy”.
The Comptroller General, who noted the importance of the collaboration, said protecting creative and intellectual property significantly contributes to the country’s economic growth.
Earlier, leader of the delegation and Director General, NCC, Dr. John Asein, expressed his appreciation to the NCS for the importance of addressing piracy of intellectual and creative property.
“The idea behind paying this courtesy visit to you, Comptroller General Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, was to congratulate you on your appointment and to extend our hands for collaboration to end piracy”, he stated.
The DG further explained that “apart from strengthening the creative skills of officers and men in various sectors, the commission would achieve its mandate by working with the NCS”.
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