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Nigerian Navy regrets “mischievous” viral video of sinking ship


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The Nigerian Navy (NN) has drawn attention to a viral video on social media emanating from an unidentified crew member of a service boat, Motor Vessel (MV) PACESETTER.

In the video, the poster stated that Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS THUNDER) was under distress and MV PACESETTER was dispatched to rescue NNS THUNDER and possibly evacuate NNS THUNDER’s crew or tow the Ship

The MV PACESETTER crew lamented on why a Nigerian Navy war ship should be in such a terrible and helpless situation at sea, calling on Nigerians to vote for a particular Presidential candidate otherwise the country will sink just like NNS THUNDER.

Reacting in a press release entitled “Mischievous circulation of video concerning Nigerian Navy ship in distress” and signed by the Director of Information, Commodore AO Ayo-Vaughan, the Navy decried the video, saying that “it is clearly from an unpatriotic, clueless and unprofessional seafarer”.

It regretted that the “video is capable of being exploited for negative political gains at this electioneering period” and stated as follows:

“On 28 January 2023, NNS THUNDER was at sea proceeding for Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2023 when she was reported to be experiencing water ingress from a screw at the Ship’s rudder about 30nm offshore Escravos. The Ship used her submersible pumps and crew to pump out and bail the water.

“However, after several efforts, the Ship sent out a distress call to NNS DELTA, Naval Base Warri as well as other vessels within its vicinity for possible assistance.

“Consequently, NNS DELTA, Forward Operating Base (FOB) Escravos which are including NN units and Motor Tanker (MT) UGO as well as MV PACESETTER contacted NNS THUNDER and rendered necessary assistance. Currently, the situation is under control as the Commanding Officer of NNS THUNDER has confirmed that the water ingress has been contained and the Ship will proceed to Lagos as initially planned.

“The action by the crew of MV PACESETTER is viewed as unprofessional and unpatriotic. It is pertinent to note that vessels could experience distress at sea from factors beyond human control, even after all necessary precautions are taken against such occurrence.

“Recently, a Thai war ship, HTMS SUKHOTHAI sank in the Gulf of Thailand due to adverse weather condition. Also, in 2021, the United Kingdom’s newest aircraft carrier HMS PRINCE OF WALES suffered water ingress twice within 5 months of the year with the engine room flooded up to 3 feet.

“The Nigerian maritime environment has recorded many incidences of vessels in distress where the NN intervened to salvage vessels and their crew.

“Most recently, in July 2022, NNS OKPABANA rescued a distressed oil vessel, MV NUE SWIFT off Bonny Fairway Buoy, the vessel having lost her means of propulsion at Agbara Platform while transiting from Forcados to Bonny.

“Obviously, incidents and emergencies develop at sea. It is for this reason among others that the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (1982) Article 98 on @Duty to Render Assistance at sea was enacted as an obligation to all seafarers internationally.

“The state of NNS THUNDER is not as adduced by the crew of MV PACESETTER because while making the video the Ship which was at the background was not sinking.

“Thus, the NN is of the opinion that the action by the crew of MV PACESETTER crew is mischievous, distasteful and most undesirable as it impedes national security and is capable of tarnishing the good image of the Service.”

Commodore Ayo-Vaughan, therefore, called on the general public to jettison the video in totality.

He also advised Nigerians to desist from involving the NN in any form of politicking now and even beyond this election season as the NN remains apolitical and will not tolerate such careless mischief from individuals or groups.

“The Navy will focus on her statutory responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s maritime environment against all forms of criminality so that legitimate maritime trade and crucial offshore economic related activities thrive seamlessly,” he assured.

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