The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday paraded four suspected sea robbers who had allegedly hijacked a barge (huge boat) MV Crow, on August 14, 2013 at Escravos River located on the Gulf of Guinea. The PUNCH had reported that the men of the Nigerian Navy killed some sea robbers during a 30-minute gun duel on August 16.
The Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Chris Ezekobe, said while addressing journalists at the Defence Jetty in Lagos that shortly after the hijack, the navy was alerted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
He said, “We were alerted by NIMASA’s Regional and Maritime Awareness Centre and we pursued the vessel to Aiyetoro in Ondo State. When we circled her, there was no sign of life on board. We called and radioed several times but there was no response. Of course, our suspicion was aroused and then we fired shots into the air. Once they heard the shots, the sea robbers came out and threw their weapons into the water.”
Ezekobe said in a bid to secure the nation’s waters, the navy recently acquired four Shaldag and four Ocean boats and three mantra class boats to patrol the waterways.
He said, “If the acquisition of more vessels are maintained, our waters would be safer. The International Maritime Bureau has listed our country as the second next to Somalia and we are working assiduously to change that perception.
“But it is pertinent to state that our challenge in Nigeria is sea robbery as opposed to piracy which is obtained in Somalia. We have over 6,000 creeks between Lagos and Calabar and it is easier for the sea robbers to attack and slip back to the creeks.”