Daredevil sea robbers struck recently at the popular petroleum product jetty in Lagos: the Ibru, and by the time they were through in the dead of the night they had successfully siphoned 5,000 tonnes of petroleum product from an indigenous ship MT Trine Teresa.
The ship whose captain and crew were held hostage while the operation lasted was waiting to discharge her products at the facilities of one of the many tank farms that are located within the expansive jetty.
Although security operatives and depot operators at the Ibru jetty declined comments on the attack on Trine Teresa, shipping Position weekly confirmed that she was attacked while trying to discharge her contents into the tank farm depot and that the sporadic shots of the robbers scared even the Navy personnel on patrol.
The latest attack comes barely six weeks after a similar attack was unleashed on cargo- laden ships that were awaiting berthing formalities at the Lagos anchorage.
For about three days from June 26, 2009, sea robbers had laid siege on the Lagos anchorage attacking and robbing ships at will and in the process, a captain was seriously injured while undisclosed sum of money was said to have been carted away by the robbers
Even though many ships were attacked in the June raid, Shipping Position Weekly had confirmed the attack on both Valdivia and Master Ricos, among the almost 25 ships that were awaiting berthing in the port. The shipping agents are Allison and Hamadah respectively.
But the attack on Ibru jetty was slightly different as an eye witness account confirmed to our correspondent that “a group of men armed to the teeth invaded the jetty on another vessel at about midnight and siphoned the fuel into their own vessel after which they escaped without hindrance”.
The source who works in one of the tank farms at the jetty which houses about 22 tank farms told Shipping Position Weekly that for the hours that the operation lasted, no security personnel was bold enough to come out.
Other depot sources confirmed that the stolen petroleum belonged to a tank farm operator simply identified as Bovas Petroleum. The company is yet to finish constructing its tank farm which is also located at the Kirikiri area of Apapa.
“The security operatives who were on duty could not do anything about it, as a matter of fact the officers on duty were not even in uniform not to talk of having weapons” a source confirmed.
The 122.6 metre long MT Trine Teresa was built in Turkey in 2007 and originally had the flag of Malta, but her present ownership could not be ascertained as at press time.
But confirming the attack, a member of depot owners association called for a more serious effort on the part of the government, to further ensure that the jetties are more compliant with the International Ships and Ports Facility (ISPS) Code.
The member told our correspondent that the association has reached an agreement with the commander of the Navy and have started putting measures in place in order to avert a reoccurrence of the incident.
He confirmed that the association is set to equip the Navy with patrol boats for better performance and also to donate Hilux Jeeps to the Trinity police command in order to further improve security at the area.
He also added that close circuit cameras and monitors are to be installed around the jetty for round-the-clock surveillance.