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Nigeria: Court grants NDLEA custody of Singaporean flagged ship, captain, 28 other suspects over 32.9kg cocaine import

  • MV Chayanee Naree was intercepted by Nigerian Navy on Wednesday

A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted the application by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for the interim attachment of a vessel MV Chayaneenaree used to import 32.9 kilograms of cocaine into Nigeria through the Apapa seaport in Lagos.

The court also granted NDLEA’s request to detain the Master of the ship, Mr. Tanahan Krilerk and 21 foreign crewmembers as well as seven Nigerians arrested in connection to the case.

The anti-narcotic agency had on October 13 intercepted the ship at the Apapa seaport following intelligence from international partners and support from other security forces.

Speficically, last Thursday, Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Commodore Bashir Mohammed, announced the Navy;’s interception on Wednesday of the 32.9kg of cocaine wrapped in 30 slabs aboard the vessel.

Commodore Mohammed told journalists in Lagos that the arrest of the vessel’s 22 crew members who were mostly from Thailand was made possible through collaborative efforts between the Nigerian Navy and the other law enforcement agencies including the International Police (Interpol), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS),  the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Through the Nigerian Navy Falcon Eye Maritime Domain Awareness System, the Navy monitored the vessel and discovered that the vessel departed Brazil in September and arrived in Nigeria on October 8. And upon entering  Nigerian waters, the vessel was intercepted by NNS EKULU and escorted to Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) where it berthed and was taken into custody by the Nigerian Navy.

A thorough search of the ship led to the recovery of 30 parcels containing cocaine, which weighed 32.9kg.

Investigations into the seizure have yielded more arrests of suspected local collaborators.

This spurred the chairman of the agency, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) to apply for the attachment of the ship and detainment of the suspects for two weeks pending conclusion of investigation.

He also directed the filing of criminal charges against suspects in court.

The application in suit no: FHC/L/CS/1518/2021, which was filed by the agency’s Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Joseph Nbone Sunday on Thursday 28th October was granted the following day Friday 29th October by Justice A.O. Awogboro.

The court ordered that MV Chayaneenaree used as an instrumentality of unlawful transportation and importation of 32.9 kilograms of cocaine be seized pending investigation and filing of the charge and prosecution.

The court also granted an order to remand the Master of the Vessel, Mr. Tanahan Krilerk and 21 other crew members of the said Vessel and 7 other persons arrested in connection with the case for a period of fourteen days pending investigation and or filing of a criminal charge.

The case was thereafter adjourned till 25th November, 2021 for report of investigation.

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