Nigerian Navy rescues three dredger crewmen abducted by pirates

Galilei 2000, later renamed Ambika (Photo: Jan De Nul)

Elements of the Nigerian Navy have successfully rescued three crewmembers of a dredger who had been abducted by pirates earlier this month during a violent raid that left four people dead.

Shortly after 23:00 local time on Tuesday, January 7, a group of Nigerian Navy gunboats intercepted a speedboat found to be carrying the perpetrators who had boarded the trailing suction hopper dredger Ambika in the Gulf of Guinea three nautical miles from the mouth of Ramos River on January 2.

The speedboat was also transporting the one Indian and two Russian sailors that the same pirates had abducted from the dredger following a gun battle wherein four embarked security personnel were killed and two others were injured.

The kidnappers unleashed small arms fire on the gunboats as they approached but the navy crews were able to successfully manoeuvre their vessels to avoid getting hit while shooting back with their own weapons at the fleeing suspects.

The pirates then beached their vessel on a nearby creek and fled on foot into a forested area with the naval special forces teams in pursuit.

The naval personnel were able to locate all three kidnapped sailors and one of the pirates during a sweep of the area that lasted into the early morning hours of Wednesday, January 8. The sole captured pirate has since been taken into custody.

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