Suspected Nigerian pirates hijack vessel in Ghana, sailors held hostage

Ismail Akwei Mar 29, 2018 at 09:08am

March 29, 2018 at 09:08 am | News

Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei | Contributor

March 29, 2018 at 09:08 am | News

160206-N-QF605-013 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Feb. 6, 2016) - A member of the Ghanaian Navy stands aboard a fishing vessel during a combined joint boarding operation Feb. 6, 2016. The Military Sealift Command expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations to support the international collaborative capacity-building program Africa Partnership Station. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Dunford/Released)

A group of pirates suspected to be Nigerians hijacked a fishing vessel in Ghana’s waters and kidnapped five sailors as they fled through Togo, Ghana Navy confirms.

The five hostages include three Koreans, one Ghanaian and a Greek national who were taken by the pirates after attempting to seize the tuna vessel, Marine 711, on the Keta high seas on Monday, reports local media Citi FM.

The Ghana Navy told the media on Thursday that it had recovered the vessel which was abandoned in the Togolese waters with one injured crew member who is currently receiving medical treatment. They also found items including live bullets from the vessel.

“For the past 48 hours, we have had series of attacks which we tried to unravel. It all happened Monday dawn about 03:30 when a speedboat came to the Tema anchorage area and forcefully took over a vessel and started heading towards the Togolese waters until the vessel complained of not having enough fuel to continue the journey,” Commander of the Eastern Naval Command, Commodore James Kontoh said.

He said they hijacked another tanker vessel and transferred the hostages. They asked the crew members to head towards Bayelsa in Nigeria. The tanker vessel was also abandoned due to lack of fuel and they hijacked a third fishing vessel that took them into Benin waters, he explained.

Commodore James Kontoh said the hijackers took more crew members and later mounted speedboats with the five hostages and absconded to an unknown location. The fishing vessel sent a signal after the pirates fled with the hostages. The crew members said they were severely beaten before being freed by the pirates, Citi FM reports.

“The Ghana Navy has always been on high alert and we have been able to deter pirates from our waters on several occasions, but this very current hijack took us unaware,” Commodore Kontoh added.

He said they are collaborating with the Nigerian authorities to apprehend the pirates and secure the release of the hostages.

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