The Nigerian Navy (NN) has said it arrested 10 pirates who had hijacked a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II off the coast of Ivory Coast. It said 18 crew members on board the vessel were rescued.
Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, the Commander Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT said that the arrest and rescue happened on 15 May.
He said that the rescued crew members, comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians, were attacked by pirates off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire.
The rescued crew on the Chinese vessel
The hijacked Chinese vessel
“The pirates took control of the vessel and directed the vessel toward Nigerian waters”, he said.
Shettima said that the Nigerian Navy was alerted of the attack.
It immediately dispatched the NNS NGURU to intercept the vessel.
“On interception of the vessel at about 140nm south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates refused to comply with the orders of the Navy Ship.
“Hence, the NN had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel.
“All ships crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were arrested,” he said.
The commodore noted that the last five known or documented pirates’ attacks were outside Nigerian waters, which the NN responded in the interest of regional security.
“This is aptly captured in the NN Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy, which covers Nigeria’s outermost maritime area of interest, encompassing the entire West African waters and the GoG.
” This underscores the need for increased regional cooperation in terms of information sharing and further deepening of response capability.
” For instance, this rescue effort was bolstered by additional intel received from the Beninous Navy during the operation,” he said.
The NN also warned criminals within the GoG to desist from their acts.
“The NN has the capability and will power to deal with such perpetrators,” he said.
Shettima said the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, was committed to ensuring maritime security within Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea.