Nigerian Navy rescues 18 fishermen from hijacked vessel in Gulf of Guinea

The Nigerian Navy 35-metre fast patrol boats NNS Ekulu (foreground) and NNS Nguru (Photo: OCEA)

The Nigerian Navy has successfully rescued all 18 crewmembers of a Chinese-flagged fishing vessel that had been hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.

The incident occurred on Friday, May 15, when the fishing vessel Hailufang II was attacked by 10 armed men aboard a speedboat off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire.

The pirates then took control of the fishing vessel and directed the captain to sail toward Nigerian waters.

The Nigerian Navy was soon after alerted to the attack and despatched the 35-metre fast patrol boat NNS Nguru to intercept the hijacked vessel at a point 140 nautical miles south of Lagos.

Upon reaching the area and after the pirates refused to surrender despite repeated radio calls, Nguru deployed a team of armed sailors to board Hailufang II and bring an end to the hostage situation.

The navy said that the fishing vessel’s entire crew, which consisted of Chinese, Ghanaian, and Ivoirian nationals, were rescued and that all 10 perpetrators were arrested. No injuries have been reported.

In a separate statement that was released following the rescue, the Chinese Consulate in Lagos confirmed that Hailufang II then sailed to Lagos with Nigerian Navy vessels providing escort and arrived there on Monday, May 18.

More news, opinion and vessel reviews in this month’s Fishing and Aquaculture Week.

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