The Remarkable Deadly Pirates Hijack Onboard MT/Mustard In February 2013

By Augustine Ashitei Avornyo

On the 19th - 20th February 2013,at approximately 10:30 am, whilst on transit voyage through Bayelsa,Nigerian territorial waters on board.the vessel MT. MUSTARD IMO No. 8111257 CALLSIGN 3ERN7 -Panama. A spotted sophisticated engine speed boat approaching our vessel with a heavily armed pirates with ammunitions, numbered six (6) with additional two white men hostages on board the speed boat from a previous hijack operation before boarding and attacked the vessel MT.

The pirates immediately disconnected all communication devices and emergency Global distress buttons, electronic devices at the bridge to make reaching SOS and Rescue teams or international authorities completely impossible. The piracy incident took two days without food and water. Crew numbered ( 15) which we suffered real life ill treatments and human rights violation by the pirates in which i sustained a closed head injury, severe torture and brutality from multiple hits with the back side of an AK 47 automatic assault rifle till i got unconscious with blood running out of my nose and

With further scenes of attempted ship damages by targeting a dynamite explosion in one of the deck tanks on the starboard side of the ship. All to inspire fear and horror on our dear lives. We were a crew of different nationals and majority being Ghanaians and Nigerians. The pirates made me climb the aft free fall life boat holding on to the davits and shot at me, and preparing for a second shot to provide the ship's Captain of MT. MUSTARD named OMIROS KAZANIATORAS with Greek nationality. The pirates threatened me vigorously because they believed i knew where the Captain was.

The Captain went into hiding and finally after long hours of search was found hiding in the fore peak tank. He was kidnapped by the pirates and immediate arrangements were made for the Captain to join the speed boat carrying the other previous captured hostages. They robbed us our personal effects and took food from the galley/store room leaving the crew with completely no food. The pirates flee the ship upon seeing the patrol and surveillance Nigerian Naval Ship approaching which they initially targeted attacking. After the exit of the pirates from the ship, the Chief engineer with Nigerian nationality made a confirmed entry record into the ship's log book of the piracy incident.

The vessel immediately sailed away from Bayelsa waters to Tema port. On arrival at the Tema port anchorage, information reached the crewmembers onboard that the speed boat carrying the pirates together with Captain OMIROS capsized during a terrible storm that they had and the Captain together with the pirates drowned and died with the exception of one white hostage who survived. At the Tema port the crewmembers were cautioned and under strict obligation by the ship owner/management not to say anything whatsoever to the Press/Media or any reporting authority about the piracy incident that took place at Bayelsa and that subsequent meetings held onboard with senior officers and ship owner named Alhaji Umar Suleman.

The ship owner promised plans of paying compensation to the entire crew and further gave directives for the crew to forward list of all items and personal effects robbed by the pirates for compensation which we all did a all efforts proved impasse. The legitimate owner of the vessel MT. MUSTARD Alhaji Umar Suleman with the company OMAROIL AGENCY LTD,which was incorporated on

the 9th day of June 2008,R.C No. CA-46,307 marine and oil company in Ghana.

The vessel stayed at anchor till the sudden dismemberment of the entire crew, reasons being the persisting suffering from the head injury sustained and the irregular activities, indulgement in crude oil theft business and recognized world known Oil theft vandals, which the whole crewmembers were very reluctant to be part of it.I depended solely on ship's first aid kit/drugs administered by the chief officer.

The entire crew disembarked on the 12th April 2013 and made a group report of the incident at the office of iMARINE LTD in Tema. Our agents/acting on behalf of Omaroil Agency Ltd made attempts to contacted the CEO and Ship-owner to seek compensation for the crew which also proved impasse. The ship owner paid only march wages to the crew through our agents iMarine Ltd,leaving April month wages unpaid and that no compensation whatsoever has been paid to us by the ship owner to date.

The company Omaroil Agency Ltd is responsible for the harm caused as they made a willful wanton, negligence, conscious disregard for life, ignoring despite international maritime warnings and sending

the crew into an area of known High Risk Area of infested piracy

The crew made demands of entitlements/compensation for Physical injuries, Emotional distress and Psychological damages and other consequences known to the ship owner/agents with insistent and peremptory request, made as of right. All meaningful and reasonable efforts failed to reach the ship owner for settlement. The ship owner has abandoned us and left us stranded all this while to date.

We seek for justice and legal redress/assistance from local and international Human Rights organizations, maritime authorities and trade unions to come to our aid. Please find attached a Photograph of the Captain of MT. MUSTARD who was kidnapped and died.