The Nigerian Navy has arrested 10 pirates who were reported to have attacked a Chinese Vessel, MV Hailufang (II).
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Commander NNS BEECROFT, Commodore IA Shettima, on Monday.
According to Shettima, the vessel was attacked on May 15 by pirates of the coast of Cote de Viore.
Thereafter, they took control of the vessel which had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians, and directed it towards Nigerian Waters.
“The Nigerian Navy was alerted of the pirate attack and immediately, the Nigerian Navy Ship NGURU was dispatched to intercept the vessel.
“On interception of the vessel at about 140nm south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates refused to comply to the orders of the Navy Ship, hence the Nigerian Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel. All ship crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were arrested,” the NNS Commander stated.
He added that it is pertinent to note that the last five known or documented pirate attacks were outside of Nigerian waters, of which the Nigerian Navy has 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,” Shettima said.
According to the Navy boss, this underscores the need for increased regional cooperation in terms of information sharing and further deepening of our response capability.
He noted that for instance, the latest rescue effort was bolstered by additional intel received from the Beninous Navy during the operation.
“This also emphasizes the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral IE Ibas commitment to ensuring maritime security within Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea in general,” Shettima added.
Meanwhile, he used the opportunity to warn the criminal elements that engage in any acts of maritime crime within the Gulf of Guinea to desist, noting that the Nigerian Navy has the capability and will power to deal with such perpetrators.