No fewer than nine crewmembers of a ship known as MT Tank (IMO no 8681460) died on Monday last week when the tanker collided with another vessel named MT Elixir (IMO no 9282510) along Bonga terminal offshore Warri, Delta State.
The cause of the collision has not been ascertained.
Owner of the MT Tank, Twinstomp Energy Limited, has appealed to the Nigerian Navy, Marine Police, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as well as other relevant authorities to investigate the death of the nine crewmembers in the ship accident.
The company said the MT Tank had 12 crewmembers on board when the accident occurred. It identified the crewmembers as Kulo Eddy Osang, Arerebo Arepade Clifford, Finecountry Timipouadeh, Akindele Akinbanjon and Odafe E. Offeh.
The others are Magaji Joshua, Isaac Kojo Money, Salami Malcolm, Ejila Philip, Moses Apobowei and Sambo M.
Only three of the crewmembers, it said, were rescued alive.
In a petition by Olumide Oyewole of Andrias & Co Legal Practitioners, the solicitors of Twinstomp Energy Limited, the firm demanded comprehensive probe into the accident with a view to unravelling causes of the mishap.
The firm said apart from the loss of the ship, MT Tank, only one body has so far been recovered of the nine dead crew members.
“We seek your assistance by using your good office to cause a thorough investigation to be conducted on the matter,” the firm said.
Oyewole gave the accident site as 04 degrees 27 degrees North and 004 degrees and 27 degree East.
The Director of Naval Information, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, confirmed the collision. He said two combat vessels have been deployed to the scene of the collision from the Central Naval Command, Bayelsa.
Meanwhile NIMASA said it has rescued three crew members and recovered one body from the accident.
NIMASA Head of Public Affairs, Hajia Lami Tumaka, said, “divers and other rescue personnel are still at the site of the incident where eight crew members of MT Tank appear to have been trapped.”
She said: “Preliminary reports show that the incident occurred at about 12 midnight on Monday 19th October 2015 and that MT Tank got broken in the process and thus go taken in by water.
“The Ag. Director General of the Agency, Mr. Haruna Baba Jauro has directed comprehensive rescue operation and ordered a thorough investigation into the incident to ascertain the remote and immediate causes.
“The Acting DG expressed sadness over the loss of life occasioned by the incident urging crew members to exercise more caution in navigation especially around terminals.
“The three rescued crewmembers are receiving treatment at Twins Clinic Warri at the behest of NIMASA while the body of the deceased has been deposited at the mortuary.
“Rescue operation is still ongoing for the remaining eight crew members.”
By Pita Ochai