The Nigerian Navy has called on the general public to jettison in totality a viral video showing Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) THUNDER in distress and described it as “unpatriotic, clueless and unprofessional.’’
The video in circulation showed an unidentified crew of Motor Vessel (MV) PACESETTER calling on Nigerians to vote for a particular presidential candidate otherwise the country would sink like the ship.
Nigerian Navy’s Director of Information, Commodore Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan in a statement said: “Ordinarily, such a mischievous video is to be ignored in that it is clearly from an unpatriotic, clueless and unprofessional seafarer.
“However, considering that such video is capable of being exploited for negative political gains at this electioneering period, the Nigerian Navy wishes to set the records straight for the benefit of all Nigerians,’’ Ayo-Vaughan stated.
He added that on Jan. 28, NNS THUNDER was at sea proceeding for “Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS’’ when she was reported to be experiencing water ingress from a screw at the ship’s rudder 30 nautical miles offshore Escravos.
“The crew used the ship’s submersible pumps to pump the water out.
“After several efforts, the ship sent out a distress call to NNS DELTA, Naval Base Warri, Delta as well as to other vessels within its vicinity for possible assistance,’’ The navy spokesman stated.
He added that consequently, NNS DELTA and Forward Operating Base, Escravos which are Nigerian Navy units nearby, as well as Motor Tanker (MT) UGO and MV PACESETTER contacted NNS THUNDER to render necessary assistance.
The situation was brought under control as the Commanding Officer of NNS THUNDER had confirmed that the water ingress had been contained and the ship was proceeding to Lagos as planned.
“It is pertinent to note that vessels can experience distress at sea from factors beyond human control even after all necessary precautions are taken against such occurrence.
“Recently, a war ship sank in the Gulf of Thailand due to adverse weather condition; also, in 2021, a new aircraft carrier in Europe suffered water ingress twice in that year.
“The engine room was flooded up to three feet, for which assistance was sought from well-meaning seafarers,’’ Ayo-Vaughan stated.
The commodore stated also that the Nigerian maritime environment had recorded many incidents of vessels in distress requiring assistance from seafarers and in some circumstances the Navy 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 lost her means of propulsion at Agbara Platform while transiting from Forcados to Bonny so, 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,’’ he stressed.
Ayo-Vaughan affirmed that the state of NNS THUNDER was not as adduced by the crew of MV PACESETTER because while making the video, NNS THUNDER at the background was not sinking.
“Thus, the action by that crew member of MV PACESETTER is mischievous, distasteful, and unpatriotic and it is capable of putting the families of the ship’s crew in a state of anxiety.
“The public is also advised to desist from involving the Nigerian Navy in any form of politicking now and even beyond this election season.
“The Nigerian Navy remains apolitical and will not tolerate such careless mischief from individuals or groups,’’ he warned.
He stated that the Navy would focus on its statutory responsibility of safeguarding the nation’s maritime environment against criminality so that maritime trade and crucial offshore economic activities thrive seamlesslynan.