***Appeal For Release Of 19 Crew Members Being Detained By Nigerian Navy
By Emmanuel Omoghene,
The Owners of the Vessel, ‘MT APECUS’ have berated the Federal Government, the Nigerian Navy, the Police as well as the Indian Government over the recent release of five Indian Sailors and one Nigeria ( The Captain ) kidnapped in Bonny, claiming that they did nothing to secure their release.
While calling for the immediate release of Mr Charles Marccathy, a Ghanaian national, who was kidnapped by the hijackers while he was attempting to deliver the ransom, and 17 Crew members allegedly being detained by the Nigerian Navy, they frowned at the nonchalant attitude of the Federal government, the Indian Government and the security agencies during the period their staff were kidnapped.
Recalled that the seafarers from the Vessel, ‘MT APECUS’ were kidnapped and taken ashore from the Vessel in the outer anchorage in Nigeria on April 19 and regained their freedom after two months.
The Federal Government and the High Commission of India, Abuja had claimed that the sustained efforts of various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Shipping, the Directorate General of Shipping and the High Commission of India, Abuja, the kidnapped victims were successfully released and have reached the safe custody of the authorities on June 27.
But in a swift reaction, the owners of the Vessel, ‘MT APECUS’ said that the kidnapped seafarers regained their freedom after two months in captivity as a result of their sole efforts, saying little or nothing was done by those claiming responsibility for their release.
The Spokesman for the Vessel owners, Mr Koffi Fripong Bue said that; “The Nigerian Government, the Navy and the Indian Government did nothing towards securing their release from captivity or if they did anything at all, the impact was not felt because the Vessel Owners did everything possible to ensure that they were reunited with their families”.
He added that; “Furthermore, a recent news published by the Nigerian Navy alleging that “Navy Debunks alleged hijack of MT APECUS”, the owners found this as totally false and they wondering about the reason why the Navy is distributing wrong information without any supporting evidences, unless they are aware of any -internal- details for which the owners demand to know officially”.
“The Vessel Owners engaged the services of the locals and other stakeholders who worked round the clock in order for them to be released and eventually after spirited efforts, they were released after over two months in captivity. The demanded ransom was paid to the kidnappers. Those who are claiming that they secured their release did not help in any way, but we are glad that our efforts paid off as the kidnapped five Indian seafarers and the Nigerian Captain were successfully released and have reached the safe custody of Indian authorities on June 27. The India government should laud the efforts of the Vessel Owners for the great role they played in securing the release of their nationals” the Spokesman said.
He alleged that; “Instead of Nigerian Navy to go after the kidnapped victims, they went ahead to arrest the remaining crew on board of MT APECUS and their Sister Vessel, MT INVICTUS and confiscated the two Sister Vessels and also detained the remaining crew on board and up till now they are still in their custody, claiming they were on illegal business without any prove because the Vessels were empty and they were arrested inside Bonny anchorage and so we are passionately appealing to the Nigerian Navy and all the necessary authorities to release the detained Crew Members and the two Vessels to the owners”.
Meanwhile, the Vessel Owners have called for the immediate release of Mr Charles Marccathy, a Ghanaian national being held hostage by the kidnappers after releasing the seafarers.
According to the Spokesman to the owners of the Vessel, “Mr Charles MarcCathy was involved in the release of six crew members of the Vessel; MT APECUS in Bayelsa State. When Six crew members of the Vessel, MT APECUS were kidnapped, he helped in their release. In the course of trying to rescue the victims, the owners of the Vessel through Mr Charles Marccathy, a Ghanaian national arranged for the ransom and exchange which was effected about midnight of June 26th, 2019”.
He added that; “But the kidnappers after releasing the Six victims have now held Mr Charles Marccathy hostage. They are yet to open communication with the owners of the Vessel. We are therefore appealing to the Federal Government, the DSS and other relevant security agencies to do something urgent to secure his immediate release. His abductors should set him free unconditionally and without harm”.