The crew of a Spanish Navy patrol vessel, the Serviola, deployed to the Gulf of Guinea on a train-and-assist mission to defend Spanish interests overseas have successfully rescued the crew of a Nigerian merchant vessel, from a gang of pirates on April 9.
The Serviola’s Ship master, Capitán de Corbeta Román González-Cela Echevarría said his crew first observed the Nigerian vessel behaving in an unusual manner for a merchant ship, and shortly after, spotted a small boat in its vicinity, thereby raising suspicion.
He said the Nigerian vessel did not respond to radio calls, forcing the Serviola’s commanding officer to launch two small RIBs to investigate. But as the Serviola’s boats approached, the small boat fled the scene.
“As we approached, we found that there was no response and that the boat moved away,” Maritime First Newspaper quoted Capitán de Corbeta Román González-Cela Echevarría as telling the Spanish radio service COPE.
The crew of the Nigerian merchant ship on the arrival of the Serviola’s boarding party disclosed that the vessel had been hijacked four days earlier, and that the Serviola’s rapid approach and continuous radio calls scared off the pirates.
According to the captain, the group of pirates consisted of nine attackers armed with AK-47 rifles and grenade launchers. The pirates had pointed their guns at the master and ordered him not to answer the Serviola’s VHF calls.
It was gathered that during the hijacking, the pirates stole all the money and valuables of the 12 members of the Nigerian ship’s crew. The attackers also took a significant portion of the ship’s provisions.
Reports said following the rescue, the Spanish navy ship, Serviola, remained on scene for a whole day to provide food and drink to the vessel’s crew. The merchant vessel then made her way to the port of Lagos, while the Serviola resumed her patrol.
Presently, the Nigerian water, contrary to ochestrated claims of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is considered as the world’s most dangerous waters for maritime piracy, prompting
In the meantime, the international shipping community has appealed for help from Western powers in a bid to provide security assistance on Nigerian waters which is said to be becoming increasingly dangerous.