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Reason for Russian Ship's Arrest in Nigeria Takes Wind

Reason for Russian Ship's Arrest in Nigeria Takes Wind 25.10.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo: shipbuilding.ru
According to Russian Charge d'Affaires in Nigeria Alexander Chernov, cause for detention of a Russian cargo ship with arms onboard was improperly executed documents.

"Indeed, there is some insignificant amount of small arms and ammunitions. The point is that the ship is used to secure merchant convoys in piracy-risky regions worldwide. The ship was heading for Guinea and called at Nigerian port to replenish supplies", he said.

"However, the documents on those arms were executed improperly", Chernov said. "Of course, that made Nigerian authorities raise eyebrows. At last, the ship is not under arrest but only detained, the crew is free and have no problems over there", he explained.

The diplomat refers to the crewmen who said they were "in normal psychological state, everything is okay".

"Presently, we're working with Nigerian competent authorities in order to set the ship free as soon as possible", assured the charge d'affaires. "It is our belief that the question is a simple embarrassing mistake", Chernov said.

"If it is smuggling, would our sailors and the shipmaster be let free? I don't think so. It obliquely shows that it was just simple investigation", said the diplomat.

He added that Russian embassy was in tight contact with a company manned the crew for another Russian ship recently hijacked in Nigeria with 6 Russians and one Estonian on board.

"That is a Franco-Nigerian company named Bourbon. We keep close contact with them", Chernov said. "They say all kidnapped sailors are alive and held together. Pirates treat them well", said the diplomat.

"Currently, we're trying to get on contact with the hijackers. Most likely, they would demand a ransom", reports ITAR-TASS citing Chernov.

As for him, "the Franco-Nigerian company is quite optimistic about this and willing to hold dialogue with the captors as soon as they are ready for that. Soon or late, that will happen".

It was reported earlier on Wednesday that the crew of MV Myre Seadiver detained by Nigerian law-enforcement authorities on suspicion of arms smuggling was alive and felt okay.

One of the crewmen got on contact. As for him, the crew knows nothing about when the problem would be settled. "All I know is that things are in progress, but I can't say how far is the problem from settling", said the crewmember of MV Myre Seadiver.

Earlier on, media reported that the Russian ship with 15 Russian sailors had been arrested in Nigeria on suspicion of arms smuggling. Reportedly, the Dutch-flagged vessel belongs to the Moran Security Group headquartered in Moscow.

An undisclosed source said that 22 semi-automatic rifles Benelli MR1 and several submachine guns had been found onboard the ship during the search.

Nigerian online resource Vanguard reported referring to Nigerian Navy's Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda that cargo ship MV Myre Seadiver was arrested off Lagos harbor by Nigerian naval assets. As for the source, it was found after preliminary investigation that the ship had entered Nigerian territorial waters without appropriate documents.

Russian Charge d'Affaires in Nigeria told the Vzglyad newspaper that local press reports about the arrested Russian ship had numerous mistakes. "First of all, not fifteen sailors were detained but eleven", he pointed out.

According to Moran Security Group, the ship had all documents needed to call at the port, including those for the arms onboard.

Russian foreign ministry said that arms onboard the Russian ship detained in Nigeria were declared, so smuggling was out of the question.

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