Lagos — The Nigerian Navy has given reasons it arrested a Russian vessel which was carrying heavy rifles last Saturday.
Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Amin Ikioda, says that at the time of the arrest the ship, identified as MV Myre Seadiver, was in the Nigerian waters without any valid document.
Admiral Ikioda said apart from the fact that the vessel was carrying automatic rifles, it was also flying a Dutch Island flag.
"This is a Russian vessel that is flying a Dutch Island flag and carrying arms and ammunition without any document to show why it should be in Nigerian waters. All this put together raises suspicion," he explained.
He stated further that there was no indication that the vessel was authorised to come into Nigeria and, worse still, to carry arms
Though investigations as at the time of filing in this report was still ongoing, Naval source said that the owner of the vessel, Moran Security Firm, is working through the Russian Embassy in Nigeria to ensure that the ship is released.
The ship was arrested by naval operatives attached to NNS BECROFT, Apapa. The ship, which is presently being held under heavy security at NN BEECROFT Jetty Apapa, was carrying 14 AK-47 rifles and 3,643 rounds of ammunition, as well as 22 Benelli MR1 rifles with 4,955 rounds when it was arrested.
A senior naval source said that, contrary to claims by management of Moran Security firm that the ship secured permission to carry arms and stopped in Lagos to change crew, no such document was presented when they were arrested.
"Why is it that those documents were not presented and their mission was not stated when they were arrested," the source said.
A top management staff of Moran Security, Alexey Badikov, is quoted as having said that the ship was proceeding from one high-risk area to another.