Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Dr Dakuku Peterside (2nd Right) in a photograph with some delegates during the recent G7 high level meeting on maritime security in Rome, Italy.
Dare-devil pirates have again unleashed terror on hapless sailors on board ships in the Niger Delta. According to security sources, the latest attacks took place penultimate weekend.
The two attacks which occurred at different nautical miles off Bonny Island in Rivers state involved a bulk and a tanker.
The attacks come exactly three days after armed pirates boarded a drifting bulk carrier around 17 nautical miles south-south west (SSW) off Bonny Island,on November 11 and kidnapped 10 of its crew members.
The pirates reportedly entered the bridge and fired their weapons damaging the bridge windows.
Reports say that, the ‘’armed pirates boarded a drifting bulk carrier. They entered the bridge and fired their weapons damaging the bridge windows. The pirates stole ship's properties, crew personal belongings, kidnapped 10 crew and escaped in their boat’’
The Nigerian Navy later rescued the crew, after two of their vessels intercepted the pirates, they succeeded in rescuing the crew and apprehended five pirates. The ship was escorted into the inner anchorage under naval escort and armed guards were placed onboard during the vessels stay. On 12 Nov 2017, the ship resumed passage under naval escort to Port Harcourt and berthed.
The UK-flagged bulker was later identified as the 2012-built Venus Bay owned by Pioneer Marine.
But unrelenting, pirates also attacked another tanker around 56nm SSW of Bonny Island o November 16, 2017. According to the IMB, seven pirates in a speed boat chased a tanker underway.
The IMB confirmed that, ‘’as the boat closed to 300 meters, the crew noticed a long ladder. Alarm raised, master increased speed, commenced evasive maneuvers and the crew mustered in a safe place’’
‘’After chasing the tanker for a while the boat stopped its approach and then once again attempted to close to the ship to board. Due to the hardening measures employed by the tanker the boat aborted and moved away’’.
The IMB added that the Nigerian Navy was notified.
Reports confirmed that, on the same day and within the same vicinity off Bonny Island, another set of pirates attacked a bulk carrier underway around 15 minutes after its Nigerian Navy security escort boat moved away.
Hearing the “Mayday” transmission, the security vessel returned to the bulk carrier and fired upon the pirate boat resulting in the pirates aborting. The Nigerian Navy security vessel then escorted the bulk carrier to Bonny Anchorage.
Also, last Tuesday, robbers attempted to board and attack a product tanker at the Lagos Secure Anchorage
According to the IMB, on November 21, 10 robbers in two boats attempted to board a product tanker. Duty crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Seeing the alert crew, the robbers aborted the attempted boarding. Incident report to local agent.
The IMB also reported that the following day, that is, November 22, a speed boat approached and chased a container ship underway. Alarm raised, evasive manoeuvres commenced, SSAS activated, local authorities notified and crew mustered in the citadel. A Nigerian navy vessel was dispatched to assist the container ship, however after around 20 minutes, the speed boat aborted the chase and moved away. Vessel and crew safe