MARAD distances itself from vessel found in Senegal with weapons

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The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) of the Ministry of Public Works has distanced itself from a vessel, purportedly bearing Guyanese registration, that was detained in Senegal with weapons.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that a Guyana-flagged vessel named “Eolika” arrived in Senegal with three containers of weapons on board, worth about US $5 million.

It has been reported that a statement from Senegal’s customs agency said it searched the ship after “inconsistent declarations” had been made. All of the ship’s crew members, believed to be Ukrainian nationals, have been arrested.

But a statement from MARAD, released on Thursday night, stated that this vessel is not contained in the local ships’ registry.

Instead, MARAD believes that the vessel’s registration documents may have been issued by the International Maritime Safety Agency of Guyana (IMSAG), an entity with which the administration had severed all ties since August 13, 2021.

Cargo that was seized from the vessel

According to its official website, IMSAG Inc. and its affiliates provide International Maritime Technical & Administrative Support to the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.

But, MARAD said that since severing ties, it has notified all regional, and international bodies and organisations of the effective termination of all arrangements with IMSAG. It has also advised that registration certificates issued to vessels by IMSAG may not be valid.

“As a result, several vessels have been detained in various ports for false registration documents,” MARAD said.

The maritime body said, however, that it will actively monitor this incident and that it will “spare no effort in protecting the image of the Guyana flag.”

The vessel was due to arrive in Guyana from Senegal on january 28, based on some reports. Other reports from Senegal could not confirm the vessel’s final destination.

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