Moran Security Group has described as “a complete outrage” the treatment of crew on its vessel Myre Seadiver at the hands of the Nigerian navy.
The vessel was seized on October 19 on suspicion of arms smuggling after several guns and some 8,500 rounds of ammunition were found on board.
The Nigerian navy handed the crew over to the police for further investigation and possible prosecution on January 7.
Moscow-based Moran spokesman Alexey Maximov said: “The fact that our crew was forcibly removed from our ship at gunpoint in Lagos by the Nigerian authorities — the very people you should be able to trust — and held for months without charge is a total outrage.”
He said: “I can clarify that the vessel called at the port of Lagos with all customs paperwork in place and I possess all the appropriate documentation for presentation.
“A declaration of the weaponry on board was made clear in that paperwork in advance of arriving at the port of Lagos and the crew had valid Nigerian visas.
“It is a fact that the crew boarded the ship at the port of Lagos after flying into Nigeria through Lagos and entering the country through the airport’s border control, which they could not have done without visas.”
Moran said the behaviour of Myre Seadiver’s crew throughout the events had been “nothing short of exemplary”.
“Moran, [the vessel’s] master and crew offered transparency and meticulously complied with Nigeria’s regulations for private maritime security providers,” it said.
Moran said it conducts all international maritime security operations in compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN charter, the UN Mine Action Standard and the Code of Conduct for International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
“The plight of the crew of Myre Seadiver, as well as the broader issue of Nigeria’s place in the international maritime community, are being evaluated by government officials in Russia and other concerned nations, as well as the International Maritime Organization,” the company said.
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