C&I Leasing commends NIMASA, others for release of her marine vessel Charis and crew in Equatorial Guinea.

The Management of C&I Leasing has commended the efforts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea,- Ambassador Toko Ali Gongulong, the Defence Attaché,-Navy Captain Seyi Oladipo, and the Spanish Navy, for their intervention and timely release of  C&I  marine vessel, MV CHARIS  which  was hijacked by sea pirates  on the 5th of May 2019 by the government of Equatorial Guinea.

Managing Director C&I Leasing; Mr. Andrew Otike-Odibi who confirmed the incident, said that one of the company’s vessels MV CHARIS was on its way to execute a vessel recovery contract  in Equatorial Guinea and was hijacked in the Equatorial Guinean territorial waters by sea pirates, who attempted to use MV CHARIS  to attack another Marine vessel, named MV BLUE MARLIN before they were arrested by the authorities of Equatorial Guinea and both vessels detained. This is contrary to reports by certain online bloggers that MV CHARIS was arrested in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on suspicion of involvement in piracy activities.

According to Mr. Otike-Odibi, while clarifying the issue surrounding the vessel; MV CHARIS was released on Wednesday the 29th of May 2019, after a series of interrogation and negotiations with the support of NIMASA representatives, Ambassador Gongulong, Navy Captain Oladipo, and the Spanish Navy.  The crew then sailed  following inspection and repair of the vessel on the 31st of  May 2019. According to Mr. Otike-Odibi, a misunderstanding of the specifics occurred between the arresting authorities because on arrival in Malabo, MV BLUE MARLIN was docked for repairs, with its crew treated decently, while MV CHARIS and its crew were detained by the police under threat of being charged with piracy, whereas they were equally attacked and hijacked by the pirates.

The Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, had  announced on the country’s national radio station that 10 sea pirates of Nigerian origin were arrested in relation to the hijacking of  a vessel; MV BLUE MARLIN and this same vessel with another vessel named  MV CHARIS were subsequently handed over to the Equatorial Guinea Navy by the Spanish Navy as the incident was clearly within their jurisdiction. However investigations later revealed  that following the attack on MV CHARIS, the pirates destroyed its communication links, leaving only the SAT Line which was not damaged in the process and was eventually used  to make a distress call. C&I Leasing then reached out to NIMASA, who then engaged all the necessary authorities in both Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea to aid the release of the company’s vessel MV CHARIS. C&I Leasing, thereafter sent a team from its Marine Operations to Equatorial Guinea to help expedite the identification and release of the of MV CHARIS and her crew and return to Nigerian shores. At a recent visit to NIMASA to appreciate their support on the release of the vessels, Mr. Otike-Odibi reiterated that C&I leasing is committed to remaining the most preferred marine partner for IOCs in Nigeria and assured all clients that the company is committed to continuous improvement of security on all vessels in operation.  

C&I Leasing Plc has been in operations for over two decades and has since evolved from being a simple finance lease company licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1991 to becoming a diversified, leasing and business service conglomerate, providing support services to various indigenous and multinational organizations in West-Africa. The Marine arm of the organization which commenced operations  in 2010 has since grown its vessel fleet to a variety of 23 owned Vessels and 10 chartered vessels.