Three Pirates attacks foiled on two vessels off Nigerian coast

 Photo: Besides economics and security, the US-led maritime Obangame exercise in West Africa

ABUJA––Naval authorities in Nigeria say the country’s navy has thwarted multiple twin attacks by pirates on two vessels in the Gulf of Guinea.  The operation was carried out by the Nigerian naval troop’s code-named Obangame deployed for regional sea exercises.

The vessels that were rescued from the suspected pirate’s attacks are some of the merchant ships doing business within the country’s territorial waters.

A combined effort from regional navies in the West African region led to the arrest of about eight people who had hijacked a fishing trawler off the coast of Togo, according to the Nigerian navy.

Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Enwo, the Nigerian Navy Chief of Transformation, yesterday disclosed these details at the end of a weeklong yearly regional sea exercise.

Admiral Ibe-Enwo, who is also the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, asserted that the first attack which was halted by troops on board the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), OKPABANA, occurred off the Bayelsa waters.

Pirates arrested in a joint operations by Nigeria and Cameroon.

“The pirates opened fire on the naval warship but were forced to beat a retreat by the superior firepower of the naval warship. The sea robbers abandoned the operation and fled,” he added.

Admiral Ine-Enwo maintained that the captain of the Nigerian naval ship received a distress call from two merchant ships around the Algbra oil field in Bayelsa around 9 pm that they were under pirates’ attack.

Later, the captain of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) UNITY, got another distress call about the hijack of a fishing trawler off the coast of Togo, according to Admiral Ine-Enwo. He said the hijacked vessel was quickly recovered.

The Gulf of Guinea has been experiencing serious pirate attacks from locals in Nigeria and neighboring countries.   These attacks have demoralized merchant marine operations in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north, and west to Cape Palmas in Liberia.  The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in the gulf.

It Surface area is 2,350,000 km (910,000 square miles), and its basin countries include the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo Republic, Angola, DR Congo, Guinea, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Surrounding Islands include Bioko, Chico, Annobon, Corisco, São Tomé, Ilhéu Bom BomIlhéu Caroço, Elobey,  and Chico AnnobonCoriscoBobowasi.

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.
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