Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The owners of the, ‘MT APECUS’ have called for the immediate release of a Ghanaian national, Charles Marccathy, who was held hostage after helping to secure the release of six crew members after over two months in captivity.
Spokesman of the vessel owners, Mr. Koffi Fripong Bue said MarcCathy was deeply involved in the release of six seafarers in Bayelsa State where they were kidnapped by gunmen.
According to the spokesman, in the course of trying to rescue the victims, the owners of the vessel through Marccathy, “arranged for the ransom and exchange which was effected about midnight of June 2, 2019.
“But the kidnappers after releasing the six victims have now held Marccathy hostage. They are yet to communication with the owners of the vessel. We are therefore appealing to the Federal government, the DSS and other relevant security agencies to do something urgent to secure his immediate release. His abductors should set him free unconditionally and without harm.”
He, however, berated security agencies, the Federal government, as well as the Indian government for taking credit for the release of the six crew members which included five Indian sailors and one Nigeria (the captain).
He alleged that the security agencies, Federal government and its Indian counterpart demonstrated nonchalance during the trying period, insisting that the seafarers who were kidnapped on April 19, 2019, regained freedom as a result of their sole efforts.
Bue said: “The Nigerian government, the Navy and the Indian government did nothing towards securing their release from captivity or if they did anything at all, the impact was not felt because the vessel owners did everything possible to ensure that they were reunited with their families.”
He added: “Furthermore, recent news published by the Nigerian Navy alleging that ‘Navy debunks alleged hijack of MT APECUS’, the owners found this as totally false and wondering about the reason why the Navy is distributing wrong information without any supporting pieces of evidence, unless they are aware of any internal details for which the owners demand to know officially.
“The vessel owners engaged the services of the locals and other stakeholders who worked round the clock in order for them to be released and eventually after spirited efforts, they were released after over two months in captivity.
“The demanded ransom was paid to the kidnappers. Those who are claiming that they secured their release did not help in any way, but we are glad that our efforts paid off as the kidnapped five Indian seafarers and the Nigerian captain were successfully released and have reached the safe custody of Indian authorities on June 27.
“The India government should laud the efforts of the vessel owners for the great role they played in securing the release of their nationals.”
He also called for the immediate release of 17 crew members on board of MT APECUS and their sister vessel, MT INVICTUS being detained by the Nigerian Navy on the ground that they were on illegal business inside Bonny anchorage.