The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said rescue operation was underway for victims of a ship collision involving two oil tankers in Warri, Nigeria on Monday last week (Oct 19).
No fewer than nine crewmembers of MT Tank (IMO 8681460) reportedly died when the tanker collided with another vessel named MT Elixir along Bonga terminal offshore Warri, Delta State.
The cause of the collision has not been ascertained.
But NIMASA’s Acting Director General, Haruna Jauro said it was too hasty to conclude that the crewmembers were dead as search and rescue operation were ongoing.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, Jauro said the agency had made arrangement for underwater inspection of the sank portion of the MT Tank as part of efforts aimed at ensuring that persons were not trapped inside the ship’s cabin.
“A team comprising of marine specialists and naval officers have been dispatched to the location of the incident to contribute to the ongoing search and rescue operation,” he said.
NIMASA had on Friday said it rescued three crewmembers and recovered one body from the accident.
Jauro said due to the location of the collision, which is prone to pirates attacks and rough weather conditions, four naval officers have been placed on board the MT Elixir to provide security to the vessel and crew.
While sympathising with the families of the deceased and those still trapped in the vessel, he said the agency was in talks with the vessel owners to ensure that victims are duly compensated.
Also speaking, Deputy Director, Maritime Safety, Vincent Udoye said, “We cannot just give up hope that there is nobody alive there.“We are still hopeful until the very last minute."
He also dismissed allegations that the agency did not respond on time to the distress call after the collision, noting that it was Global West Vessel named ‘NIMASA KIBERI’ that what was used for the rescue operation.
“NIMASA has a contract with Global West for 10 years, we are still using Global West Vessels to facilitate search and rescue,” he said.