Russia Presses Nigeria Over Detained Ship’s Crew

MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow has asked Nigeria to straighten out the situation with 15 Russian crew members on a ship detained over alleged arms smuggling in mid-October, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

The Myre Seadiver was detained in the port of Lagos on October 19 after Nigerian authorities discovered it was carrying an assortment of weapons, including 14 Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles with some 5,000 rounds of ammunition.

Moscow-based security firm Moran that owns the ship has said the arsenal was on board to protect against pirates who prey on the shipping along the Nigerian coast.

Last Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sent a letter to his Nigerian counterpart Olugbenga Ashiru asking him to intervene in the case and see to it that the situation is resolved “as soon as possible,” spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

He did not explain why the move was only announced now.

The Nigerian authorities have pledged to put the investigation into the incident on a fast track and resolve the situation, Lukashevich said.

Nigerian navy officials said the vessel was not authorized to come into Nigeria or carry arms. They also said the vessel was travelling under a Dutch flag while Moran claimed it had a Cook Islands flag.


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