“What happened to everyone on board? We are worried,” says Lamine Kiazolu, a resident of Robertsport’s Fanti Town.
Independent investigations conducted by this paper yesterday indicate heightened security tension in the city.
A Joint Security team comprising the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was seen combing the city on a fact-finding mission after they had visited the wrecked ship.
According to our Robertsport city security source who spoke anonymously due to insufficient authority to officially address the media about the wrecked Tamaya tanker, the Joint Security Team has already established that the tanker poses absolutely no security threat to Robertsport nor the country.
“However, we have been ordered to ensure that civilians don’t enter the tanker for their own safety,” our security source disclosed, adding, “in fact, anyone who is found around that ship will be arrested.”
Despite the warning, stragglers were seen openly vandalizing the wrecked ship. Some looted items from the ship were also confiscated by the Robertsport security.
Mystery of a burnt tanker
Access to the beached Tamaya 1 product tanker seems nearly impassable by road. From Robertsport city, one would have to walk two hours along the beachfront to reach the wreckage. The fastest but most hazardous route to the wreckage is the rough sea, where, after 45 minutes of roughshod ride one would reach the wrecked Tamaya lapping the rocky waves of the beachfront that adjoins to the famous Nana’s Lodge.
On close observation, Tamaya looks badly scorched.
Multiple questions then start running through the mind. Was it some mechanical fault? Could it be that some high sea pirates had attacked the ship, seized the crew and set the ship on fire? Is it possible that Tamaya could have been carrying toxic wastes along the Liberian coast as was the case during the 1980s? What really happened to the crew?
According to international Maritime reports, Tamaya 1, which bears a Panamanian flag, was last headed toward the port of Dakar, Senegal.
Liberian security officials were reticent when Capitol Times contacted them to provide more information about what caused Tamaya 1 to burn; and what happened to the crew.
However, Policeman spokeman Sam Collins assured that the matter is being closely monitored, and that the public will be shortly informed.
Pundits watching the Tamaya incident are of the view that cursory security patrol at the wreckage will amount to nothing if proper forensic investigation is not conducted to ascertain how an oil tanker got shipwrecked along Liberia’s western shores.