Nigeria: Ship’s Owners Protest Arrest of Russian Vessel in Nigeria

russianA ship with a 15-member Russian crew, which was seized by Nigerian naval authorities over the weekend, has all the necessary papers, its owner, the Moran Security Group, said Tuesday.

The Myre Seadiver vessel flying a Dutch flag was detained at Lagos sea port.

The crew was arrested for suspected arms smuggling 14 Kalashnikov assault rifles, 22 smoothbore guns, and ammunition rounds were found aboard.

Voice of Russia quoted the Moran’s Deputy General Director, Vadim Gusev, as saying that the ship had legally entered the Lagos port a month ago and was heading for the Gulf Guinea for refuelling and repairs.

He said that the list of the crew members and the guns to protect themselves with if attacked by pirates had been passed along to the Nigerian authorities through a port agent, which is confirmed by documents handed over to the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Nigerian side.

The Russian ship seized in Nigeria presented the local authorities with all documents required for entering port Lagos, said Vadim Gusev, deputy CEO of the vessel’s owner Moran Security Group.

Gusev said the ship’s cargo of weapons and ammo and a list of its crew members were submitted to the port authorities via their agent. He stressed the company had legal papers to this effect, which had been filed to the Russian and Nigerian officials, Voice of Russia continued in its report.

The Moran Security Group deputy CEO stressed that the vessel had been given the green light to enter port Lagos three weeks in advance.

The seized ship is a supplementary vessel for supporting tankers and oil rigs. It was arrested on its way from the Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria.

Authorities seized a ship and arrested its 15 Russian crew members on suspicion of arms smuggling, after they found several guns and about 8,500 rounds of ammunition on the boat, the Navy said on Monday.

The Navy said it found 8,500 rounds of ammunition, 22 Benelli MR 1 rifles and a number of guns on board the vessel.

The vessel, which belonged to the Moscow-based Moran Security Group was flying a Dutch flag, was intercepted over the weekend, Navy spokesman, Commodore Aliyu Kabiru said.

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