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Turkish Chief Officer, killed by snapped line, in Spain

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Turkish Chief Officer, killed by snapped line, in Spain

…As High Court declares “Pirate Attack” on Brillante Virtuoso an ‘Attempted Fraud’***

Chief Officer on board of a general cargo ship, YALIKOY died in the morning of Monday October 8, after being reportedly hit, by a snapped mooring line. The chief officer was of Turkish nationality.

The event which occurred during berthing at Sagunto port, Spain, also resulted in another crew being injured, even though, not seriously. Paramedics declared him dead when they arrived on board.

In a ruling issued Monday, the High Court of London ruled that the tanker Brillante Virtuoso was irreparably damaged not by pirates, as her owner and banker claimed, but by a group of conspirators. Justice Nigel Teare found that the owner’s claims of piracy were improbable, and he reached the “firm conclusion” that the attackers intended to destroy the vessel, that they had the assistance of the master and chief engineer as they went about the task, and that the owner orchestrated the scheme in order to defraud his insurer.

On July 6, 2011, Brillante Virtuoso was drifting off Aden, awaiting a team of unarmed security contractors before transiting Bab el-Mandeb. A small boat approached carrying seven masked, armed men. The men informed the crew that they were “security,” and they came aboard with the master’s permission. (The disputants in the case agreed that the boarding party’s members were likely current or former Yemeni Coast Guard or Navy servicemenbers.) They ordered the crew to the day room, and escorted the master to the bridge and the chief engineer to the engine room.

Also read:  Unresponsive Crewmember Hoisted from Cargo Ship off Texas

On the bridge, at about 0024, they ordered the master to make way for Somalia, which would require a course east-southeast. Instead, he steered southwest, towards Djibouti and away from Somalia. At about 0228, the engine came to a stop, either due to mechanical failure or to the chief engineer’s actions.  At 0245, the attackers detonated an IED in the fuel purifier room, starting a fire. An accelerant and additional fuel caused the fire to spread. The attackers departed, and the chief officer made a distress call reporting a pirate attack (at 0303). The SSAS was activated at 0306. The master and crew (except for the chief engineer) abandoned ship at 0416 and were rescued by the cruiser USS Philippine Sea.

The chief engineer remained on board for the next two hours, but did not carry out standard engine room fire-fighting provisions like shutting down vents, closing off remotely-activated fuel valves or activating the fixed firefighting system.

After a survey of the fire damage, the vessel was judged a total loss, and owner Marios Iliopoulos and banker Piraeus Bank filed a $77 million insurance claim. As the case proceeded, Iliopoulos declined to provide electronic documents related to the case to his own counsel or to the plaintiffs, raising questions for the court.

In his ruling on the case, Justice Teare noted multiple inconsistencies in the owners’ account of the attack. The incident occurred within Yemeni waters off Aden, a location where Somali pirates had never attempted a boarding before (and have not since). In VDR recordings, the attackers identified themselves as “security,” suggesting that if they were pirates, they would have had to have known that the vessel was awaiting a security detail. They brought with them an incendiary device. The master allowed them to come aboard, even though they were  masked and armed and the ship was awaiting an unarmed security team. When directed to steer towards Somalia, the master selected a much different heading, but the attackers did not detect this or correct it.

“I do not consider that there is a plausible explanation of the events which befell Brillante Virtuoso which is consistent with an innocent explanation,” Teare wrote. “I have found that in the present case a group of armed men, on the instructions of the Owner, were permitted to board the vessel and set fire to it, as part of an attempt by the Owner to defraud the Underwriters.”

In 2016, Marios Iliopoulos was arrested in London and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with the Brillante Virtuoso case.

 

Fleetmon with additional reports from Maritime Executive 

 

 

Maritime

Yaya Dillo: Implication of Assassination for Chad and its ruling elite!

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Days after the killing of Chad opposition politician Yaya Dillo, in disputed circumstances, many analysts in the conflict-racked Central African nation have expressed concerns about how his allies, powerful relatives, and rivals will react.

The Chadian government has said that Dillo was killed in an exchange of gunfire with security forces on Feb. 28. It said members of his Socialist Party Without Borders had earlier attacked the internal security agency where several people were killed.

Following this, heavy gunfire was heard in Chad’s capital N’Djamena near the headquarters of Dillo’s Socialist Party Without Borders.

The violence comes amid tensions ahead of a presidential election set for May and June that could return the Central African state to constitutional rule three years after military authorities seized power.

*Yaya Dillo

Accounts of the incident given by the government and the party have differed.

A government statement said the agency was attacked by representatives of the opposition party, led by its leader Yaya Dillo, resulting in several deaths.

Detailing a separate incident, the government said a member of the party, Ahmed Torabi, had carried out an assassination attempt against the president of the Supreme Court, Samir Adam Annour. Torabi was arrested, it said.

The opposition party’s general secretary told reporters that the deaths near the security agency occurred when soldiers opened fire at a group of party members.

But the FACT opposition rebel group and the CNRD opposition party have called it an assassination and analysts say the circumstances are unclear.

The capital N’Djamena was quiet two days after the death, though residents said security forces were deployed in key locations and soldiers searched for weapons at checkpoints overnight. Access to the internet has been cut.

The May and June votes were meant to draw a line under three years of military rule by transitional President Mahamat Idriss Deby, who seized power after his long-ruling father was killed in clashes with rebels in April 2021.

Deby junior, who is standing in the vote, has since faced street protests against delays in the elections and has had to bring some members of the opposition into his government, under moves to ease tensions brokered by regional leaders.

The United Nations and regional leaders have called for calm and urged Chadians to focus on the vote.

The violence this week has further exposed the complex ethnic and family ties that make up Chadian elite politics.

Deby senior had concentrated military and political power around his Zaghawa ethnic group.

His son has struggled to maintain that unity, and divisions have emerged, with some family members openly opposing him.

Dillo, the opposition leader who was killed, is from the same clan – believed to be a cousin or nephew of Deby junior – and his death has triggered anger within the family.

Exacerbating these concerns, the transitional president’s uncle, Gen. Saleh Deby Itno, last week defected to Dillo’s party and was reportedly subsequently detained.

Roland Marchal, a Chad expert at the Centre for International Studies (CERI) at Sciences Po Paris, said the fact that Saleh joined Dillo’s party was a signal that some in the extended family were extremely unhappy.

“The killing of Dillo is a sign of weakness. Dillo is not very popular in Chad so why take such extreme measures against him?” Marchal said.

Security sources say Deby Junior has sought to stamp his authority on the security forces, including by creating new units loyal to him.

As Islamist militancy spread across much of West Africa during the last decade, Chad has established itself as a key partner for Western and regional militaries.

Former colonial power France still has 1,000 troops and warplanes based there, even as it has been forced to withdraw from Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso due to rising anti-French sentiment in the region.

The United States has had drones based in Chad. N’Djamena also hosts the headquarters of the regional counter-terrorism task force.

Positioned between Libya and Sudan, Chad’s remote borderlands are often used by smugglers and armed groups operating in regional conflicts.

Most recently, United Nations experts said that Chad has been used as a route to supply crucial weapons from the United Arab Emirates to the RSF, the militia that has been fighting the Sudanese army since April 2023.

However, the UAE has denied this. Chad hosts nearly 700,000 Sudanese refugees from this conflict.

With the elections in Chad just around the corner and the killing of Dillo coming at this time, analysts say the African continent may be on the verge of witnessing the unveiling of yet another theatre of unrest. 

  • NANFeatures
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Rice Wahala: How Smugglers Nearly Killed Me, Customs Officer Tells Court

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An Assistant Superintendent of Customs, Mr Amos Ekundayo told a Federal High Court in Ibadan how a gang of rice smugglers attempted to kill him after shooting him in the head.

Ekundayo was led in evidence by Mr Michael Osug, the prosecution in the case filed against two suspected rice smugglers; Waliu Ayodeji and Lateef Odugbemi before Justice E.K. Akpan on Friday.

Ayodeji and Odugbemi were apprehended on May 22 2023 in the Igbo Ora area of Oyo State.

They had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, unlawful importation of foreign rice, and conspiracy.

“I was one of the customs officers on patrol on May 22, 2023, when we were informed that a gang of smugglers were operating on the Ologbojo-Tapa road which is under the Igbo-ora area.

“On getting there with the other members of the team, I attempted to address the members of the gang.

”However, they told me that the only person who can address them was Sunday Igboho.

Appeal Court Orders ASUU to Resume Work Immediately

“Before I knew what was happening, they shot me in the head and my back.,” Ekunday said.

He showed the court the three different spots where he was allegedly shot.

The witness also stated that he was taken to the Lago State University Teaching Hospital for medical attention.

He added that he spent eight days in the hospital before being discharged.

“During our investigation, we found out that the two defendants and others, now at large had smuggled 144 bags of per boiled rice from Cotonou, Benin Republic,” the customs officer said.

In his testimony, Mr Ganiu Salami, an informant to the Nigeria Customs Service said that he knew the two defendants as smugglers and that he informed the customs operatives about the May 22 2023 event.

“After the customs operatives accosted the gang of smugglers, the second defendant, Odugbemi pointed his gun and shot at Ekunday.

He tendered the medical report issued by the hospital in respect of the shooting before the court as an exhibit.

However, counsel to the first and second defendants, Mr. A.A. Okelola and Mr Adewale Ishola prayed the court not to admit the medical report tendered by Salami on the ground that it was not a certified true copy.

In their separate arguments, Okelola and Ishola said that the medical report was a mere coloured photocopy document.

In a counter-argument, the prosecution counsel, Osug said that the document that was tendered was original.

Finally, the court admitted the document as an exhibit against the defendants.

The judge adjourned the matter until March 23 for continuation of trial. 

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UNIPORT: NIMASA Intensifies Capacity Development, Delivers Marine and Transport Technology Building

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The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has handed over, two ultra-modern complexes housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology to the Management of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

According to Jamoh, the building which is a donation from NIMASA to the University, was the initiative of the previous leadership of the Agency, but on assumption, as the Director General he saw the need to review and commence the project.

*The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR (3rd right) presenting the keys of the Ultra-Modern Complex housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology donated by NIMASA, to the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Clifford Ofurum, while others look on in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.



He said, “The initiative dates back to 2012/2013 when the then DG of the Agency decided to build a maritime training institute. The initiative is not peculiar to Uniport but is present in all the six geopolitical zones of the country. Any investment in education is worthwhile.

The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR and others during the presentation of the keys the Ultra-Modern Complex housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology, donated by NIMASA to the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State.

” Research has shown that lack of education is relatively responsible for maritime crimes in the Niger Delta Region. We hope beneficiaries of this Maritime institute will be instrumental in making Nigeria a major maritime nation”, he said.



The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Abraham Georgewill, who was represented by the VC Administration, Prof. Clifford Ofurum thanked NIMASA for selecting Uniport as the location for the Maritime Institute, assuring that the University will provide adequate faculty to ensure courses are accredited and recognized globally.

*The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR (3rd right), Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Clifford Ofurum (4th left) and others during the presentation of the keys the Ultra-Modern Complex housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology, donated by NIMASA to the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State.

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