Officers attached to the Nigerian Navy have killed two people suspected to be pirates and who were said to have hijacked an oil tanker around the Lagos anchorage.
The suspected pirates, alongside their colleagues, reportedly hijacked a ship called M.T. SP Brussels and killed two crew members, following a gun duel with police officers onboard the ship.
Media reports said the vessel was hijacked on April 30 and the crew held hostage.
It was learnt that the navy deployed two patrol boats, NNS BENIN and NNS IKOT-ABASI to the area and rescued 15 crew members and the two police officers onboard.
It was gathered that eight armed pirates accosted the oil-laden vessel at 120 nautical miles outside Lagos waters.
“Six of them came on board the vessel, leaving their colleagues to man their boats. There was exchange of gun fire between the pirates and the police officers. In the process, two crew members were killed.
“Naval vessels were asked to locate and investigate the incident. The team from NNS Beecroft intercepted the vessel.
“The deployment of Marine Police from 43 Police Mobile Force, CMS, Lagos on April 13, was uncalled for. Deployment of policemen on board vessels outside the Fairway Buoy is illegal and outside the police’s constitutional responsibilities.
“Naval personnel would have known better than to shoot from an open deck like the police did, making themselves sitting ducks for the enemy fire,” a source was quoted as saying.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade, said investigation into the incident was ongoing.
The FOC said the vessel would remain in the navy’s custody until investigations were concluded.
MT SP Brussels is a Marshall Islands registered oil tanker.
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