Nigerian authorities seized a ship and arrested its 15 Russian crew members on suspicion of arms smuggling, after they found several guns and about 8,500 rounds of ammunition on the boat, the Navy said on Tuesday.
The vessel was intercepted over the weekend in Lagos, one of Africa’s busiest ports, Navy spokesman Commodore Aliyu Kabiru said by telephone. It belonged to the Moran Security Group, based in Moscow, and was flying a Dutch flag, he added.
There was no immediate comment from Moran.
“The vessel was carrying 8,598 ammunitions and different rifles. Investigations are still ongoing,” he said. He gave no further details.
However, a report in The Voice of Russia claims all the documents needed to enter the port were presented to the authorities.
The Russian ship seized in Nigeria presented the local authorities with all documents required for entering port Lagos, said Vadim Gusev, deputy CEO of the vessel’s owner Moran Security Group.
Gusev said the ship’s cargo of weapons and ammo and a list of its crew members were submitted to the port authorities via their agent. He stressed the company had legal papers to this effect, which had been filed to the Russian and Nigerian officials.
The Moran Security Group deputy CEO stressed the vessel had been given the green light to enter port Lagos three weeks in advance.
The seized ship is a supplementary vessel for supporting tankers and oil rigs. It was arrested on its way from the Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria.