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Spanish Navy Ship Rescues Nigerian Vessel From Pirates In Gulf Of Guinea

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 successfully rescued the crew of a Nigerian merchant vessel, from a gang of pirates on April 9. Presently, the Nigerian water, is considered as the world’s most dangerous waters for maritime piracy, prompting the international shipping community to appeal for help from Western powers in a bid to provide security assistance off Nigeria.

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. Subsequently, the Nigerian vessel did not respond to radio calls, forcing the Serviola’s commanding officer to launch two small RIBs to investigate.

However, as the Serviola’s launches approached, the small boat fled the scene at high speed. “As we approached, we found that there was no response and that the boat moved away,” said Capitán de Corbeta Román González-Cela Echevarría, speaking according to Maritime Executive, to Spanish radio service COPE. According to the captain, the group of pirates consisted of nine attackers were 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. During the hijacking, the pirates stole all of the money and valuables of the 12 members of the Nigerianship’s crew.

The attackers also took a significant portion of the ship’s provisions. Consequently, 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. Ironically, Capt. Echevarría noticed a remarkable difference between the pattern of piracy off Nigeria and the one from those used by Somali pirates in years past, especially in terms of modus operandi.
Source: Leadership Nigeria

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