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Mystery ship:A national security breach?

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On the coast of Robertsport, in Grand Capemount County, few officers of the Liberian joint National Security team sat on the beach as they watch the Atlantic Ocean’s waves splash against the huge rocks on shores. The cool sea breeze is like a sleeping pills, which could easily put a person to sleep, especially during hot sunny days.

Here these servicemen sat, well relaxed with some having their uniform jackets opened, unarmed as they stirred at the giant water body. Few tiny fishing boats sail miles away off the shores-Everything appears to be normal.ut nearly an hour leg journey from where these security officers sit along the beach, sits a mysterious ship. No one knows exactly how it got there and when-Not even the Coast Guards. It was spotted few weeks ago by some fishermen and later reported by the Liberian National Police or LNP to the local media on May 3, this month.

About one week has gone by just before this writer and another senior journalist visited the scene, yet the Liberian Government has no clue as to how this Chinese built vessel marked Tamaya 1, with a Nigerian flag docked at the coast of this old Americo Liberian settlement, which stands almost in ruins and empty-another evidence of backwardness and underdevelopment is this beautiful enclave, best for tourism. (later for another article).

But From where these officers sit, one have to walk almost 30-minutes before seeing the abandoned vessel in sight. This suggests that whoever was onboard and with what could have disembarked without being noticed and disappeared through the woods into the community. This was evidence by swimsuits lying on the beach just where the vessel is docked.

Almost breathless after descending the rocky hills, 4 members of the joint security team were spotted from a distance using their leg to examine a swimsuit, while two forensic officers sat on one of the rocks preparing to board the abandoned vessel. Remember this is one week after this abandoned vessel was reported in the press.

The vessel, from physical examination appears to be in good condition, except for the bridge and upper deck which were set ablaze apparently by its crew members whose whereabouts remain unknown.

“You guys will have to leave,” the senior police officer on the scene told this writer and his colleague. “We were given specific instructions not to allow any journalist on this sight, let alone entering the vessel,” he continued.

One immigration officer was asked to escort this reporter and his colleague from the scene as the two forensic officers climb the vessel unarmed. “Do not allow them to take any pictures, the ones they took when we were distance away is enough.” the commander instructed why asking this writer and his colleague to obtain permit from the local authorities before visiting the area of the vessel. 

Fears among residents Residents of Robertsport remained in fear despite claims by local authorities that such fears have subsided. A local resident said he was worried because it was scaring that a strange vessel of such magnitude will dock on the shores and no one knew about it.

There were mixed reactions as some residents, like a gentleman at one of the Total Filling Stations fear that the vessel could have brought in anytime like arms or narcotic drugs. One of the officers on condition of anonymity told this paper that it was even more scarring to be at such dangerous posts and not armed because he wasn’t too sure what was on the vessel.

Robertsport, has been one of the major illegal entry points of some west African nationals who come in on fishing canoes. The Liberian Government is yet to make an official statement on the strange vessel. The only official statement so far comes from the Ministry of Defense-through the Coast Guards, who claimed that they have searched the vessel and there are oil spillage all on the floor, with burnt documents.

Here in Monrovia and elsewhere the fear looms. Many are wondering how a vessel will enter and dock on the shores of Liberia unnoticed. Many question what could be the motive of its crew members citing a national security breach.

An official of the beleaguer Liberian Maritime Authority or LMA, agreed to speak to this writer about the strange vessel, but cited a briefing engagement with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as a reason for not honoring the appointment. With journalists barred from the area of the vessel and the government remaining tight-lipped over the mysterious vessel, citizens can only speculate in fears.-Written

-by Othello B. Garblah

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