The Nigerian Navy (NN) has said it thwarted pirates’ attack on a Chinese vessel, MV Hailufang II off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire and rescued 18 crew members on board.
The commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima who disclosed this in a statement yesterday said the crew members were rescued last Thursday, May 15.
He said the rescued crew members comprised Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivoirians.
“I am here to make a brief on the rescue efforts of the Nigerian Navy in a recent pirate attack within the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“On May 15, a Chinese vessel, MV Hailufang II, was attacked by pirates off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire.
“The pirates took control of the vessel and directed the vessel toward Nigerian waters.
“The vessel had 18 crew members, comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivoirians,” he said.
Shettima said the Nigerian Navy was alerted of the attack, adding that 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 ship’s crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were arrested,” he said.
Shettima recalled that the last five known or documented pirates’ attacks were outside Nigerian waters, which, according to him 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 intelligence received from the Beninese 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.
With NAN report