By Godspower Edoza
A bulk carrier was chased down and boarded by pirates off Brass, Bayelsa State on Saturday, April 7, 2018, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre.
The ship was reportedly sailing around 41 nautical miles south-southeast from Brass when four pirates in a speedboat armed with guns caught up with the tanker and came on board.
According to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre, the crew managed to raise alarm and mustered in the citadel and notified the Nigerian Navy, which sent a patrol boat to the location.
The pirates however ran away once they became aware of the presence of the Nigerian Navy officials.
But before leaving the ship, the pirates fired upon and damaged the ship’s equipment and accommodation. They also stole the ship’s cash and properties.
Once on the spot, naval personnel boarded the ship, rescued the crew and escorted the ship to a safe port, according to IMB.
IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 66 piracy incidents in the first quarter of 2018, up from 43 for the same period in 2017.
Worldwide in the first three months of 2018, 100 crew were taken hostage and 14 kidnapped from their vessels.
Nigeria alone recorded 22 incidents. Of the 11 vessels fired upon worldwide, eight were off Nigeria – including a 300,000 MT deadweight VLCC tanker more than 40nm off Brass.
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