By Doris Esa
The Nigerian Navy says it has begun discussion with its counterpart in Ghana for details on the circumstances surrounding suspected pirate attack on MV PAKSOY I, a Turkish flagged vessel.
Navy’s Director of Information, Commodore Suleman Dahun, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
Dahun said the general cargo vessel reportedly sailed from Cameroon and was heading to Abidjan when she came under attack on Saturday at about 124 nautical miles south west of Brass, Rivers.
He said that 10 crew members of the ship were reportedly abducted, and that naval and other security agencies operating within the creeks and back waters had been tasked to ensure safe rescue of the crew.
According to him, investigations are ongoing toward getting a lead to burst the hideout of the criminals and rescue the abducted persons.
Shedding light on circumstances surrounding the incident, Dahun said that naval headquarters received a report of the suspected pirates’ attack on the vessel on Sunday, 18 hours after it purportedly occurred.
He said the position of the vessel was plotted on the navy’s Maritime Domain Awareness system in accordance with its operational procedures, and that the vessel was spotted miles away from Nigerian-Benin Republic international maritime boundary.
He said that when it was discovered that the vessel would be out of Nigerian waters in about two hours from then, the navy alerted Zone E, Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) headquarters in Cotonou.
“On receipt of the information, the Commander, MMCC, informed other member-countries in Zone E and also Zone F headquarters as the vessel seemed to be headed westerly at the time.
“The vessel was later intercepted around 0831 hours on July 15, 2019 by Ghana Navy Ship EHWOR and escorted to Tema Port, Ghna.
“Preliminary reports from Ghana and IMB conveyed that the suspected pirates abducted 10 crew members of MV PAKSOY I.
“The report further stated that seven crew members left onboard by the attackers sailed the vessel to Tema Port.
“The Nigerian Navy is already interfacing with Ghana Navy to obtain further details on the circumstances surrounding the pirate attack on the vessel,’’ Dahun said.