The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said it has launched its satellite surveillance system, which, in conjunction with the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force, successfully rescued a Ghanaian fishing vessel from suspected hijackers on Thursday, according to a press release it issued weekend.
The Ghanaian registered vessel was said to have been hijacked off the coast of Ghana and sailed across Togo and Benin Republic to Nigerian waters when the Embassy of the Republic of Korea reportedly contacted NIMASA to help in its rescue.
“The Ghanaian Fisheries Authority and the operators of the fishing vessel joined in requesting NIMASA to bring the incident to a logical conclusion.
“In a swift operation coordinated by Capt. Warredi Enisuoh, NIMASA’s Director of Shipping Development, the Agency’s newly built satellite surveillance system with cloud penetrating radar capabilities was brought to bear and the incident was resolved within six hours. “NIMASA team, working with the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force, which used air and sea patrols, quickly put up a response and reception plan which led to the hijackers abandoning their mission and fleeing,” NIMASA stated in the press release signed by its image maker, Isichei Osamgbi.
Meanwhile a Greek oil tanker with 24 crew members has lost contact with its owners in the Gulf of Guinea, sparking fears that the ship may have been hijacked by pirates.
According to the ICC’s International Maritime Bureau IMB), the Liberian-flagged Fair Artemis lost contact with its owners on Wednesday while off the coast of Ghana’s capital city of Accra.
The Gulf of Guinea is home to one of the world’s most piracy prone areas, with most incidents occurring along or off the coast of Nigeria where gangs hijack vessels mostly to steal cargo. Pirates however have been known to attack ships off the Ivory Coast to the west and south as far as Angola.
If the hijacking of Fair Artemis proves true, it would be the westernmost incident reported to the IMB this year.
The tanker has 24 crew members onboard, according to a statement from the ship’s owners, Fairdeal Group Management S.A.