Nigerian Navy Rescues 10 Mariners from Pirates

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Published Nov 15, 2017 9:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

On November 11, the Nigerian Navy thwarted an attempted pirate attack on a bulker in the Gulf of Guinea and successfully rescued 10 seafarers from a kidnapping in progress. 

On Saturday morning at 0822 UTC, a group of armed pirates boarded the bulker as it drifted at a position some 17 nm south of Bonny Island, Nigeria, an area known for a high risk of piracy. The attackers entered the ship's bridge and opened fire, damaging the windows. They stole personal belongings from the crew and kidnapped 10 seafarers, loading the crewmembers into their boat and heading off. 

Two Nigerian Navy vessels successfully intercepted the boat and apprehended five pirates. All 10 crewmembers were rescued. The Navy escorted their ship to an inner anchorage, and the vessel entered Port Harcourt and berthed on Sunday. 

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the bulker may have been the UK-flagged handysize Venus Bay. AIS data indicate that the Venus transited from Bonny to Port Harcourt on Sunday.

Over the last nine months, authorities have recorded more than 20 piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea. Not all mariners who are attacked in these waters manage to escape so quickly: on October 21, six crewmembers of the container ship Demeter were abducted off the coast of Nigeria and held hostage until last weekend. Ship manager Peter Doehle Schiffahrts-KG reported the men are in good condition and returned to their families.