We have been advised of a recent case were a Member’s ship was arrested for alleged illegal bunkering in Nigeria.
In this case the ship had been allegedly bunkering another ship 26 Nm from the coast. On completion of the operation the ship was observed by the Nigerian authorities to have her fenders down. They accused the ship, by VHF, of illegally bunkering. The authorities had no records of a certificate to bunker either for the ship or for the ship it was allegedly bunkering. The Member’s ship was ordered to proceed inshore and remain at anchor.
Attempts were made to communicate with the Nigerian authorities to get the ship released on the grounds that there was no proof that the ship was bunkering as they were not alongside the other ship and the fender evidence was circumstantial. However, it was concluded that the ship receiving the bunkers should have arranged the license and certificates and fines were accordingly paid.
Ship and shore personnel must be aware of the delays and costs that can be incurred if ship-to-ship (STS) operations are not carried out in the designated areas and without prior approval.
Source of information:
Africa Marine Services (Nigeria)