A mysterious ghost ship washed up on Liberia’s coast. The regional government is facing flak from its citizens for failing to notice the entry of an unauthorized seafaring vessel into the country’s sovereign waters for two whole days.
The presence of an abandoned ghost ship on one of Liberia’s many beaches has baffled the country’s coast guard. The ship is a huge 210-foot oil tanker that is missing its entire crew. The ship had run aground in the coastal city of Robertsport, some 75 kilometres (47 miles) west of Monrovia, reported the Telegraph. Though the ghost ship had run aground for about two days, the government remained oblivious to its presence, drawing the ire of its citizens.
The ghost ship has been identified as “Tamaya 1.” Its identification was possible only because the name was scrolled on its side, as it is a customary maritime practice. The sudden appearance of the ship has yet to be understood. Perplexed about the entry of a completely unauthorized, random ship in its territorial waters, Liberia’s Ministry of Defense has sent out Coast Guard personnel to investigate.
The officials have been going through the maritime registry to try and determine the owner of the vessel. All international vessels have to be cataloged in a registry that’s available to all the nations. The registry notes the make and model of the vessel and its origin as well as the general purpose.
Based on the name, the officials determined Tamaya 1 was an oil tanker and its port of origin was Nigeria. This also means the ship was supposed to hoist a large, clearly visible Nigerian flag. However, the ghost ship showed no signs of any flag. Moreover, the ship appears to have been gutted by fire, leaving the bridge (Upper and Control Center) burned, reported Front Page Africa.
All the documents aboard the ship, which could have shed more light about the ship’s voyage, crew, and cargo, have also been burnt to a crisp, and the only identifying feature available to investigators appears to be its name, reported IFL Science. Interestingly, the name appears misleading as some reports link the oil tanker to the country of Panama.
On April 22, the 210-foot oil tanker signaled its position off the west coast of Africa, reported Maritime Traffic. The website tracks seafaring vessels all over the world. The website reports that after the ghost ship’s last transmission on April 22, there were no signals or geo-location pings. Large ships such as oil tankers must regularly transmit their position, speed, and direction for safety reasons. The information is broadcast electronically and automatically.
Since the signal stopped, the oil tanker became completely silent. Experts speculate that either the signal transmission equipment malfunctioned or it was intentionally sabotaged.
The ghost ship had its entire crew missing. However, one of the two lifeboats was missing as well. Hence, there are chances the crew might have escaped the burning oil tanker. However, unless the crew members turn up at a port or are picked up by another vessel, they will be listed as missing at sea.
Liberian Defense Minister Brownie Samukai speculates there might not be any wrongdoing. As parts of the ship were burnt, it is quite likely the ship was in distress, and fearing for their lives, the crew decided to abandon it.
According to Newser, the Liberian Coast Guard (LCG) heard from the Maritime Regional Monitoring Rescue Coordination Center that the tanker was seen by some fishermen to be in possible distress four days after its final signal. If the information pans out to be accurate, it is likely the crew might have been picked up by fishermen, hope maritime experts.
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