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Cameroon Navy Recovers Stolen Nigerian Ship 

By Francis Tim Mbom

Stolen Nigerian ship

Stolen Nigerian ship

The Cameroon Navy, November 26, recaptured a Nigerian ship that had been stolen.

The vessel had been stolen in June and re-christened “Lumen Christi’ meaning “Light of Christ” by captain, Mike Ogorke and his crew.

The Commander of the Limbe Naval Base, Lt. Colonel Emmanuel Sone, told reporters at the Bota Wharf on November 30 that they captured the 275-ton ship and detained Ogorke and 10 other crew members at the Gendarmerie in Limbe.

“What we have here is a case of a stolen vessel owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria which was operated by the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography under the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture,” the Commander said.

Commander Sone said the Nigerian Government wrote to the Cameroon Government to seek for help when she learnt that her missing vessel was actually operating in Cameroon waters.

Meantime, officials from the Nigerian Consulate in Buea, led by Bamgbelu Abayomi, were in Limbe on November 30 in the company of the Naval Base Commander to see for themselves the efforts that the Cameroon military had put to recover the stolen vessel.

“This is the fruit of the cooperation between our two brotherly countries. I want to thank the Cameroon Government and its military for this wonderful effort,” Bamgbelu said.

He added that it was a demonstration to such thieves and other maritime criminals, that they won’t have any place to hide, so long as the cooperation between Cameroon and Nigeria continues to grow.

An official from the Oceanographic Institute who accompanied the Nigerian Consular officials to Limbe, Williams Akambi, said the vessel was built by the Japanese in 1984.

Akambi said the Institute had decided to go into a public/private partnership and contracted Captain Ogorke to pilot the vessel.

According to Akambi, the vessel developed technical problems and needed some repairs. The Institute then entrusted Ogorke with the ship and permitted the captain to take it for repairs.

Akambi said Ogorke took the ship and the Institute only discovered sometime in June that he had vamoosed with the vessel. After some investigation, they got wind that Ogorke was in Cameroon.

“We got to know that the boat was in Cameroon waters three weeks ago and we wrote to the Cameroon Government,” Akambi said.

Meantime, Commander Sone said there were on-going discussions between the Cameroon Government and the Nigerian authorities to see how the ship can be returned to Nigeria. He said the ship needs minor repair works after which it will be returned to Nigeria.

He added that on the night they recovered the ship, Captain Ogorke was not on board.

“He had actually gone to Douala to procure some parts to come back and repair the ship which is at present bad,” Commander Sone said, remarking that the other crew members on board had so informed them.

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