Posted on April 23, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Nigerian Navy has arrested nine individuals over alleged possession of firearms in Nigerian territorial waters.
The nine individuals, which comprise of one American, three Greek and 5 Nigerian nationals, were part of a maritime security force that provides anti-piracy services in the Gulf of Guinea.
The arrest occurred during a joint operation between the United States Coast Guard and the Nigerian Navy, codenamed Junction Rain whose purpose is the support of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP).
According to initial reports, the navy boarded the vessel Sea Angels 3 after discovering that the Captain had lied about the number of people on board the ship.
Upon boarding the vessel, the Navy discovered in fact that the vessel definitely had more people onboard than initially suggested.
But more than that, the Navy’s initial search of the vessel discovered a cache of weapons, including four semi-automatic rifles as well as ammunition and military gear.
According to the Officer in Tactical Command of the Joint Operation, the vessel's AIS had been turned off and the ship itself had been painted in navy colours, which further added to his doubts about the vessel.
Allegedly, the security team belongs to the US-based security firm, Trident Group. According to an unconfirmed report, Trident denied that the vessel had been operating within Nigerian territorial waters.
The US Embassy in Nigeria is currently in talks with the Nigerian Government in order to secure the release of the arrested individuals.
Despite the extreme threat of piracy present in Nigeria, the government prohibits ships that carry their own armed security forces from entering the country.