Owner of Mystery Oil Tanker Comes Forward, Sheds Some Light on Abandoned Ship

Tamaya 1 washed up along the coast of Liberia.
Tamaya 1 washed up along the coast of Liberia.

Authorities in Liberia have located the Nigerian owner of the mystery ghost ship that washed up without explanation along Liberia’s coast earlier this month.

The alleged owner, identified as Robert M. Saigba, was met by officials when he landed at Liberia’s Roberts International Airport on May 13, where he claimed ownership of the Panamanian-flagged Tamaya 1, the 63-meter oil tanker that was found abandoned along a beach in Robertsport, Liberia on May 4. Adding to the mystery, one of the ship’s two lifeboats was missing from the vessel, and a fire had ravaged most of the interior of the ship.

Traveling with Saigba were two of ship’s alleged crew members. The three men were not arrested, and have been working with security officials to unravel the mystery behind the ship, according to Liberia’s official news agency LINA.

Saigba told officials that he is one of two shareholders of Nigeria-based H. Matic’s Resources Limited, a company engaged in the supply of petroleum products, marine logistics, haulage, civil engineering, and general contractual services, the LINA report said.

He said that the Tamaya 1 set sail on April 22 from Dakar, Senegal for Nigeria, but at some point into the voyage the ship developed a ‘technical fault’ that left the vessel adrift and in danger of sinking off the coast of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The last known position of the Tamaya 1 was recorded on April 22, 2016, according to AIS data from MarineTraffic.com
The last known position of the Tamaya 1 was recorded on April 22, 2016, according to AIS data from MarineTraffic.com

Saigba said that crew was forced to abandoned the ship to a fishing vessel, leaving behind the lifeboat. The lifeboat was later found washed up in Edina, Liberia, about 125 miles from the location the Tamaya 1.

Saigba’s story seems to be consistent with what little details were known about the ship so far, including what the latest AIS data showed and the missing lifeboat, although the fire is still a tad mysterious. 

Officials are still working with Saigba to piece together what exactly happened and where to go from here, but at least now it’s all starting to make a little bit of sense. 

Here’s some video of the Tamaya 1: