Nigerian Navy intercepts Russian ship with weapons
Abuja: A 15-man crew on a Russian ship, which had weapons on board, was arrested by the Nigerian navy on Monday and the vessel ceased as it sailed into the oil-rich African country's territorial waters.
Senior naval commander, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda, said the vessel, which was carrying 8,598 ammunitions and different rifles entered the Lagos stead without appropriate notifications from the naval authorities.
"Part of our responsibilities in Lagos area is to create a very conducive maritime space for legitimate maritime businesses to thrive. Therefore, anytime we see something that is infringing on such an opportunity, we try to see how best we can address it." he said.
He gave a breakdown of the weapons as 14 AK47 rifles with 3, 643 ammunitions and 22 Benelli MRI 20 barrel rifles with 4, 955 ammunitions adding that more weapons could still be discovered inside the ship.
The ceased ship is Det Norske Veritas (DNV) owned by the Moran group and was flying a Dutch Island flag.
"The said ship came into our waters without due notifications and on further search it was discovered that it has weapons and ammunitions on board which is an infringement of the laws of this country," the naval officer said.
In late 2010, Nigeria intercepted the shipment of rocket launchers, grenades and sundry arms packaged in 13 containers from Iran.
CMA CGM, an international cargo shipper based in France, that carried the arms shipment, said that an Iranian trader had loaded the 14 shipping containers at Bandar Abbas, a port in south Iran, on the ship and made false declarations.
Nigeria's national security adviser then, Major General Andrew Azzazi had said that the shipment had made a stop at Mumbai's Jawaharlal Nehru Port.
The discovery of weapons became a sensitive issue because the country's capital Abuja witnessed bombings, which claimed 14 lives during celebration of its 50th independence anniversary the same month.