A Nigerian man has claimed ownership of Tamaya 1, the “ghost ship” that ground on Liberian shores on May 3, and two of the vessel’s crew have also been located, reports say.
The purported “shipowner” Robert M. Saigba was met by officials when he landed at Roberts International Airport in the country on May 13 on a flight from Nigeria, according to a statement from Liberia’s Ministry of Defence seen by Africa’s APA news agency.
Nigerian nationals Tomogho Oye Amaliri, Omowho Bernard were allegedly among the vessel’s four crew and also met with officials at the airport. The men reportedly disembarked an Arik Air flight voluntarily and have not been arrested. Reports say they are cooperating with Liberian security officials.
Saigbo is believed to be a partner in Nigeria-based H. Matic Resources, which supplies petroleum products and provides logistics, maritime transport, civil engineering and general contracting services. Saiga said he bought the Panama-registered vessel during 2015, which was subsequently reflagged in Nigeria.
Saigba claims the ship departed from in Dakar, Senegal on April 22 and was bound for Nigeria when it encountered technical difficulties at sea. Saigba said he dispatched a fishing vessel to locate the Tamaya 1, which was in danger of capsizing while off the coast between Sierra Leone and Conakry, Guinea.
Omowho Bernard, the vessel’s chief engineer who accompanied Saigba, said efforts to fix the vessel failed and the crew and its captain were forced to abandon ship using the lifeboat and were later rescued by a fishing vessel.
The lifeboat was abandoned at sea and was eventually washed up on the coast of Edina in Grand Bassa County, Liberia.