The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Missing Liberian Oil Tanker Found

The Liberian oil tanker MT Fair Artemis which reportedly went missing in Ghanaian territorial waters for days after it departed the Ghanaian port of Tema has been found, the head of the Liberian Maritime Authority or LMA Mr. Binyan Kessely told the New Dawn Friday.

"The MT Fair Artemis was found, the Chief of Security (of the shipping line) said the crew contacted him yesterday (Thursday)," Mr. Kessely said Friday.

The oil tanker, according to Kessely, was reportedly found between Nigerian and Ghanaian waters, after it had been attacked by pirates. He said the pirates took away the cargo, about 3500 metric tons of cruel oil and personal belongings of crew members following an exchange of gunshots.

However, he said there were no casualties. He said the crew members are being given medical attention, while investigation into the incident continues. The West African sub-region is fast becoming a breeding ground for piracy owing to the booming oil industry along the coast.

But Kessely said such incidents, like the attack on the MT Fair Artemis is only helping Maritime authorities understand how to navigate the waters. "When incidents like this happen, the success is the life of the crew members," he said.

The Liberian-flagged oil tanker was reported over the last weekend to have gone missing 36 nautical miles off the coast of Ghana. "We had a distress call from the master of the ship on Friday, saying he was 36 nautical miles away from our waters after he was hijacked and looted in Togolese waters early Wednesday," a senior official at Ghana's eastern port city of Tema said at the time.

The MT Fair Artemis made its last contact with its manager, Fairdeal Group S.A., at 1800 hours GMT on Wednesday when it was operating off the coast of Ghana. The oil vessel was said to have failed to make contact with officials of the company last Thursday.

Kessely confirming the disappearance of the oil tanker said in an interview Tuesday that the oil tanker MT Fair Artemis was reported missing while he was attending a Maritime meeting in the Ghanaian capital Accra. Mr. Kessely said he immediately engaged the Ghanaian Minister of Transport and his Maritime counterpart over the incident and an immediate search was instituted.

He said the Ghanaian Maritime vessel monitoring and surveillance unit had reached out to track the vessel but it was reportedly not seen in Ghanaian waters as at the time of tracking.

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