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Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - Two Ghanaians have been arrested in connection with the hijacking of the Nigerian-flagged commercial oil tanker in the territorial waters of Ghana.
The two are George Opata Okrah, a freight forwarder, and Joel Yaw Attah, a shipping agent.
The police have mounted a search for three Nigerian accomplices who are currently at large.
The two Ghanaians were implicated in the case after police investigations showed that they connived with the eight Nigerian pirates to hijack the oil tanker and share the booty.
When they appeared before the Adjabeng Magistrate Court, together with the eight Nigerian pirates, they were remanded to reappear on March 20, 2015.
The eight Nigerian pirates, who are currently on remand, are Molih Williams, Molih Klinsman, Peggy Aki, Ebiyaibo Amos, David Jacobs, Apetimiyi Onyinie, Piano Saniyo and Picolo John.
The remand of the two Ghanaians and eight Nigerian pirates came after the prosecutor, Chief Inspector Patrick Hanson, had told the court that the police arrested the two Ghanaians after investigation revealed that they connived in the hijacking of the oil ship.
He informed the court that with the arrest of the two Ghanaians, the police had substituted the charge sheet and asked the court to remand the two and the eight pirates for the police to complete their investigations.
However, the counsels for the two Ghanaians, Mr James Odartey Mills and Mr Reynolds Twumasi, prayed the court to grant them bail as they were prepared to assist the police in their investigations.
However, the court said the offence of piracy was not bailable and refused to grant the accused persons bail.
It, therefore, remanded them into the custody of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to reappear on March 20, 2015.
The court also ordered the BNI to ensure that the counsel of the two Ghanaians and Nigerians had access to their clients two hours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday every week until the police concluded their investigations.
The Prosecutor, Chief Inspector Hanson told the court that the complainant in the case was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Maxweir Limited, which operated the MT Mariam, while the eight accused persons were all unemployed from Nigeria.
On January 17, 2015, the MT Mariam set sail from Lagos in Nigeria to Lome in Togo.
He said the accused persons attacked the crew of the vessel and offloaded the cargo onto another vessel marked M. T. Invictus.
The prosecution said the complainant, with a marine vessel tracking device, located the hijacked vessel heading towards Ghana’s territorial waters.
He said the leader of the pirates, Captain Mike, managed to get the complainant on phone and threatened that he would use the vessel for another operation in Liberia.
However, the Ghana Navy patrol team, on receipt of a distress call, proceeded to rescue the victims and arrested the pirates, the prosecutor said.
Chief Inspector Hanson stated that Okrah, who is a freight forwarder and a good friend of Captain Mike, met him in the early part of January this year to discuss the hijacking of a loaded vessel with oil from Nigeria.
“During their meeting, they discussed the need for a vessel to take delivery of the oil and his benefits after the oil was sold. The two also agreed to give Atta $75,000 for the use of the M.T. Invictus after the sale of the oil,” he said.