Liberia Breaks Silence Over Ghost Ship –‘Coast Guard Searched Oil Tanker’
Monrovia – the government of Liberia through the Ministry Of National Defense has finally broken silence over the mystery surrounding an abandoned oil tanker which washed up on the shores of Liberia last week.
“During the search on board the vessel, it was discovered that the abandoned vessel is an oil tanker and but so far no information was established regarding the number of crew members as no crew members were found on board. It was further gathered by the LCG that the vessel was gutted by fire, leaving the bridge (Upper and Control Center) burned along with all documents” – Ministry of National Defense, RL
The ship’s abandonment prompted speculations after its discovery with no crewmember on board.
In a statement Monday, the Ministry of National Defense says it notes with keen interest, the national security concerns which have germinated as a result of an abandoned vessel along the western shores of Liberia.
In keeping with its statutory mandate, the Liberian Coast Guard (LCG) immediately took siege of the security implications and in concert with the Liberian Maritime Authority (LMA) successfully conducted a boarding and search operation on the vessel on 5 may 2016,” the statement noted.
The Ministry said the vessel has been identified as a Panamanian registered Nigerian flagged vessel named Tamaya 1 which drifted on the shores of Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County on 3 may 2016. The team boarded the vessel by way of land on the coast of Liberia through Grand Cape Mount County.
Information gathered by the Liberian Coast Guard (LCG), from the Maritime Regional Monitoring Rescue Coordination Center (MRMRCC) quoted some fishermen that Tamaya 1 was observed to be in distress within Sierra Leonean waters and drifted toward Liberia on 26 April 2016. The MRMRCC did not, however, release this information to the lcg.
During the search on board the vessel, it was discovered that the abandoned vessel is an oil tanker and but so far no information was established regarding the number of crew members as no crew members were found on board.
It was further gathered by the LCG that the vessel was gutted by fire, leaving the bridge (upper and control center) burned along with all documents.
Search by the LCG additionally established that the vessel, which is listing on the starboard aground, has its hatches opened and contained a mixture of oil and water. The vessel was known to be carrying two raft boats but only one was observed during the search by the LCG.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense assures the public that the Liberian coast guard in concert with other security agencies are further investigating to unravel circumstances surrounding the abandoned oil tanker and its subsequent drifting on the Liberian shores.
An abandoned oil tanker has washed up on the shores of Liberia in West Africa, prompting an investigation – and speculation over the fate of the ship’s crew.
The Tamaya 1 was discovered near Robertsport last week, apparently without a crew or lifeboats. But even after inspections by both the Liberia national police and bureau of immigration, the government failed to address the mystery as speculations spread throughout the city.
The 64-meter (210ft) tanker’s last known position was on 21 April near Gambia and Senegal, according to shipping site marine traffic – well north of Liberia along the West African coast. The ship was en route to the Senegalese port of Dakar, according to the site.