ABUJA, Nigeria – The Defence Headquarters has revealed that pirates seized a Chinese vessel and sailed it down to Nigeria.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, stated this at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.
The spokesman said the attack occurred on May 15.
Enenche noted that the pirates stormed the vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, off the Coast of Cote D’Ivoire.
He noted the criminals took control of the vessel and directed it towards Nigerian waters.
“The vessel had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaian and Ivorian. The Nigerian Navy was alerted of the pirate attack and immediately, the Nigerian Navy Ship Nguru was dispatched to intercept the vessel.
“On interception of the vessel at about 140 nautical miles south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates refused to comply with the orders, hence the Nigerian Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel. All the ship’s crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were also arrested,” he said.
Enenche added that the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, recently dismantled illegal refining sites and a wooden boat with three coolers, 136 dugout pits and 201 surface metal storage tanks in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
174 ovens laden with about 14,434 barrels of suspected stolen crude oil as well as 1.38 million litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO were also located and dismantled.
He disclosed that the illegal refining sites have been earmarked for swamp buggy operation.
On May 11, Forward Operating Base (FOB) Escravos intercepted three large wooden boats around Madangho and Sara Creek also in Warri South LGA.
The boats were laden with about 12.6 barrels of suspected stolen crude oil and 43,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO.
On May 12, the Navy discovered seven refining units, 13 metal storage tanks and four dugout pits with about 440.3 barrels of stolen crude oil and 180,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally refined AGO.
In another operation, FOB Ibaka patrol team around Effiat Waterways intercepted an abandoned wooden boat laden with 310 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon.
On May 14, the FOB team also intercepted an abandoned medium size wooden boat laden with about 67 drums of products suspected to be PMS around Enwang Creek.
Seized bags of foreign parboiled rice, boat and drums of suspected PMS are currently in the FOB’s custody.