MARAN Loses President, As Ifeyinwa Obi Passes On

Ifenyinwa Obi
  • As EU naval force probes hijack of cargo vessel in Gulf of Aden

The Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) was this morning thrown again into serious mourning, as its President Mrs Ifeyioma Obi gave up the ghost at a hospital in Lagos.

Sources told the MARITIME FIRST that the late association prime Inter Peres was rushed to the hospital late Sunday night, after complaining she was feeling tired and the weakness intensified despite earlier belief that if she rests, she would be okay.

It was however learnt that though she was offered admission by the hospital somewhere in the festac, her condition worsened towards this morning, when she was reported gasping for about two minutes, before giving up the ghost.

The late MARAN President, Ifeyinwa Obi, first from Left, sitting with the representative of the NPA Managing Director, Mr I. Umar and the PCC Chairman, Otunba Kunle Folarin, at the MARAN SECRETARIAT, during a one-day Seminar on Making Nigerian Ports Preferred Destination in the West and Central African sub-region, last Thursday in Lagos.

“The death should be deemed natural” posited an industry Stakeholder, who headed for anonymity, even as he added: “only that the consistency of these natural deaths is beginning to assume a frightening dimension” he started making an easy reference to two of the deaths of two reporters in the Maritime Industry, earlier last month.

Kayode Gabriel Atofolaki of the New Nigeria and the newly elected Secretary general of the Federated Maritime Media Association, Olusegun Gbolagade died last month; one in Kogi state and the second at the trinity Bus-top, near Tin Can Island Port, Lagos when a product tanker lost control and crushed in as he sat on an okada, a commercial motorcycle, a week, after Kayode’s death.

She was deposited at a morgue in satellite town this afternoon. Her last lads, precious twins are just a year old plus.

In the meantime, the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) in Somalia on Monday confirmed it is investigating reports of possible hijack of a cargo ship over the weekend in the Gulf of Aden amid resurgence of piracy off the coast of Somalia.

The force said in a statement: “EU NAvFOR is working with counter-piracy partners to investigate reports of a possible piracy incident involving a cargo vessel on Saturday in the Gulf of the Aden.

“Further information will be provided by the EU Naval Force once facts about the incident are confirmed.”

A merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil was briefly hijacked by Somali pirates on Saturday evening but later abandoned on Sunday before naval forces freed the vessel, reports said.

The latest incident came after the United Nations warned that recent attacks on commercial ships off the coast of Somalia highlight the continued threat of piracy.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had called on ships to follow advice of navies and that of the International Maritime Organization while planning passage through the region.

In March, Somali pirates attacked two vessels and a cargo ship. While the crews of the two vessels were later released, the cargo ship’s crew are still held hostage, reports said.

According to UNODC, large parts of the Somali coast remain beyond the reach of law enforcement authorities.

Somali pirates have in the past received hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom from hijacking vessels. Some hostages were injured or killed in the process.

The pirates tend to be well armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades.

They sometimes use skiffs launched from mother vessels, which may be hijacked fishing vessels or dhows, to conduct attacks far from the Somali coast.

Additional report from NAN