By Godwin Oritse
CONTROVERSY is at the moment brewing over the use of the Royal Norwegian military vessel bought by Global West Specialist Vessel Limited to train Nigerian cadets presently undergoing seafaring training abroad.
Global West Specialist vessel Limited is purportedly owned by Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo.
The vessel, a 135 bunk military war ship with two cinema halls, two lecture halls, two hospitals and two mess rooms, was de-commissioned before it was handed over to Global West.
Vanguard learnt some powerful Nigerians have ganged up against the use of the vessel for the training of cadets.
It was also gathered that the same group of people are also making moves to get the NIMASA’s management to start a re-bid for the supply of another training vessel.
It was gathered that the purchase of the vessel was a decision reached by both the managements of the Global West and the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency, (NIMASA) when it was discovered that the purchasing a vessel by the agency was prohibitively expensive.
The agency, Vanguard learnt decided to invite companies to bid for the supply of training a vessel for the cadets to enable them have the mandatory sea time training.
It was at this point that Global West decided to go for a training vessel and ended up buying the de-commissioned Norwegian war ship.
The vessel, according to Vanguard investigation, was arrested by the Nigerian Navy as soon as she arrived the shores of Nigeria.
The Navy, it was gathered, had to detain the vessel following Tompolo’s antecedents.
All effort by Global West to retrieve the vessel from the Nigerian Navy proved abortive.
The management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Vanguard further gathered has re-ordered for a supply of another training vessel.
Although, Vanguard could not confirm this development, but the Acting Director General of the agency, Haruna Baba Jauro told Vanguard that he has heard about the vessel.
He said “I do not know much about the vessel but I have heard about it because I heard people talking about it, I have not seen it, so there is very little I can say about it.”
Haruna Baba Jauro denied NIMASA’s order for the supply of another training vessel.
“I am not aware of that” he said.
The spokesman of Chief Ekpemupolo, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo told Vanguard that he was not aware of the existence of the vessel saying that “there is nothing like that.”
A source at the agency told Vanguard that the sea time aspect of the National Seafarers Development Programme initiated by NIMASA is very critical to the training of the cadets.
The source also said that the said vessel could have been the best training ship for the cadets as she is very robust and in excellent condition, built to a very high standard and can be used for another twenty five years.
It was further gathered that some yet to be identified persons interested in the supply of a training vessel have shown up and making move to ensure that the controversial vessel remains under detention.