Photo for illustration purpose only
Negotiations are underway to repatriate the vessel and culprits for trial in Nigeria.
A stolen ship, the Sarkim Baka, belonging to the Nigerian State has been caught in the Cameroonian waters some five nautical miles off the Limbe coast. Before arrest, the ship was operated by the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research under their Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Captain who was operating the vessel on behalf of the Nigerian government ran away with it and caused the change of the name from Sarkim Baka to Lumen Christi engraved on it by the time it was impounded.
The Nigerian government informed their Cameroonian counterpart of the disappearance of their ship last June, 2016, and both countries began collaborating in the search. Thanks to the vigilance of the Cameroon Navy-Base in Limbe, under Commander Ngonge Sone Emmanuel, the ship was located and impounded by 5 p.m, on 26 November, 2016, with its captain, Nigerian-born, Mike Ogorye and three others aboard.
The suspects, of Nigerian origin, are meditating over their mischief at the Limbe Gendarmerie cell. Consequent to the ship arrest, a tripartite meeting was held at the Limbe Naval Base last Wednesday between the Cameroon administration, the Buea-based Nigerian Consulate General for the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon and officials from Nigeria. The Nigerian officials are requesting for the suspects and the ship to be repatriated for trial in Nigeria.
Commander Ngonge Sone told Cameroon Tribune in his Limbe office last Friday that: «The ship is in custody at the Limbe harbour. It has engine problem and the suspects are with the Limbe Gendarmerie. We had a technical meeting with Nigerian officials to discuss the way forward. The suspects violated some of the laws in Cameroon as the captain of the ship borrowed money from some Cameroonians promising them partnership to exploit the vessel.
Right now, we are writing a report to our hierarchy with Nigerian officials soliciting the transfer of the ship and culprits for trial in Nigeria. We are just technicians here and hierarchy will take the decisions necessary.”
A Nigerian official, Olusegun, who represented the Consul General at the tripartite in Limbe, commended the Cameroon Navy and the good relationship between Nigeria and Cameroon especially that no safe havens for criminals exist anywhere in the two countries. A couple of years ago the Cameroon Navy caught a vessel by the Kribi coast accused of piracy in some neighbouring countries.