The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday said it had launched a manhunt for crew members of a suspected pirate ship that ran aground in Odioma River, Brass Local Government of Bayelsa.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command, Rear Adm. Sidi Usman, made this known during a tour of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base in Brass Island.
The tour was part of activities to celebrate the biannual tour of naval bases under the FOC’s command. Usman said the suspected pirates ran away on sighting naval patrol team, but unfortunately, they ran into a shallow part of the river and the ship sank.
He said that in an attempt to evade arrest, the suspects abandoned their motorised barge at Odioma River and escaped before the naval operatives could get at them.
“The barge was abandoned there in the course of pursuit by our men, before we got there, the operators had absconded. We have launched a manhunt for them.
“The community is helping with information. It was through such information that we got wind of the barge.
“We want to encourage them to always give us useful information to rid the waterways of the activities of pirates,’’ Usman said.
The FOC said the Navy would continue to patrol the waterways to rid them of criminals.
Usman said: “Talking about challenges in our waterways, it is not anything that is strange to us because the maritime environment has its own challenges.
“The challenge includes tackling all the illegalities in our waterways. I can assure you that we are up to the task and something possible is being done.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The rate of piracy with my command is on the decline. We always go out there on patrol and when we see vessels, we interrogate them.”
On the biannual tour of naval bases, Usman said it was necessary to enable the authorities to tackle some of the challenges the officers and men were facing.
He urged the communities to always cooperate with the security forces in the country’s waterways and to desist from criminal activities.
“We are getting useful information from them. If they continue to support the Navy this way, piracy will be a thing of the past,” Usman said.