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Fire in abandoned ship?

Report reaching the NewDawn says fire has been discovered in the office of the captain of the abandoned ship discovered on Tuesday evening in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.

State securities are said to have taken over the vessel marked “TAMAYA 1” since Wednesday. There are conflicting accounts about which country’s flag is being flown by the ship as earlier report had said it was allegedly carrying flag under Nigerian maritime. But according to the World Maritime News, it is a Panama-flagged product tanker.

It is yet to be determined how the vessel came here and what its mission could be, leaving locals to be in fear since discovering the abandoned ship. Security personnel in Grand Cape Mount County said the cabin or captain’s office was in flames, but not much is being revealed yet as officials appear to be handling the issue with caution. Officials at the Liberia Maritime Authority or LMA in Monrovia were reportedly locked in a meeting Thursday about the situation, but as this paper went to press, it had not received any statement from the LMA.

The army here has not made any official comment regarding the situation, but the Liberia National Police says officers have entered the vessel. The abandonment of the controversial vessel has since heightened security concerns among Liberians, particularly at a time citizens continue to seek delays in UN Peacekeepers’ plans to hand full security over to national authorities.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Sam Collins said he could only affirm that officers have entered the vessel, when engaged by this paper concerning the fire. The Assistant Minister of Defense for Public Affairs David Dahn could not be reached despite several calls made to him by this paper.

At the discovery of the vessel Wednesday, there were reports of three unknown men disembarking and fleeing in canoe. There has not yet been any report of crew members coming out of the vessel, and it is not known whether three men that allegedly disembarked the ship were the only occupants.

The unknown vessel has been allegedly abandoned in Robertsport at a site leading to a mountain in Sendelhun Town of Grand Cape Mount County, western Liberia. World Maritime News says based on the ship’s latest AIS data dating to April 22, it was last underway toward the port of Dakar, Senegal.

By Winston W. Parley

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