Nigerian Navy: Crewmembers Involved in Pirate Attacks

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Gunnery training on the NNS Nwamba (file image courtesy Nigerian Navy)

By MarEx 2016-08-19 11:37:38

The Nigerian Navy said Thursday that it had thwarted a pirate attack on the break bulk / project cargo ship Vectis Osprey off of Bonny Terminal. A government spokesman said that the crew were safe, and that a subsequent investigation would examine a “trend of involvement of crew members in attacks on their own vessels.”

Director of Information for the Nigerian Navy Commodore Christian Ezekobe said in a statement that the Navy had been alerted to the attack by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. In response, the Navy dispached the patrol vessel NNS Nwamba (formerly the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Firebush).

"Vectis Osprey departed Bonny offshore terminal and came under pirate attack on Wednesday 17 August, 2016. [The Nwamba] engaged the attackers on approaching the vessel which made them to abandon their mission due to superior fire power," Ezekobe said. "Naval special forces onboard the war ship embarked and rescued the crew who locked up themselves in a citadel in the merchant tanker."

"Investigation has also commenced . . . especially with regard to the current trend of involvement of crew members in attacks on their own vessels. Additionally, ship owners are hereby advised to profile their crew before embarking them onboard to avoid situations in which some disgruntled crew members stage-manage attacks on their own vessels,” he said. 

A spokesman for the vessel’s owners emphasized that the crew are safe and that she has already sailed for her next port of call. He added that the firm “is confident that her crew acted professionally throughout their ordeal.”

The 8,500-dwt freighter Osprey is ice classed Swedish 1A, and she is strengthened for the carriage of heavy machinery. Nigerian media appeared to misidentify the vessel as a merchant tanker. 

AIS data showed the Osprey underway off of Port Harcourt as of Thursday evening.