While a vessel was at anchorage off Lagos recently, the Master reported to the correspondent that he had been contacted by people purporting to be the agents, advising that they would be boarding. When these people arrived they were accompanied by several others, alleging to be police officers and dressed accordingly. The "police officers" proceeded to accuse the vessel of illegal bunkering and eventually drew their firearms with which they threatened the Master and crew and demanded money. The Master, fearing for both his own safety and that of the crew, was forced to give the men about $2,500 before they would agree to leave the vessel.
Whoever these people were they clearly knew who the real agents were and also knew their radio channel. It therefore appears that some people are obtaining information which is normally only available to the agents; possibly policemen supplementing their income.
The correspondents advise that the opportunity for this type of incident should not arise at the berth, but only at anchorage. It is therefore recommended that ships likely to have to remain at anchorage have available the name of a senior person at the local agents so that the Master can verify the legitimacy of any requests for boarding.
Source of information:
Through N Milner (H1)
Tel +44 181 452 4544
Fax +44 181 450 9079