NIMASA, Navy Arraign 10 Pirates For Prosecution With Anti-Piracy Law

NIMASA, Navy Arraign 10 Pirates For Prosecution With Anti-Piracy Law
Photograph of the arrested pirates during their parade at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos, yesterday.
By Kenneth Jukpor

Ten pirates who hijacked a Chinese fishing trawler HAILUFANG II, have been apprehended and handed over to the Nigerian Police by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy.

The pirates, apprehended by the Nigerian Navy on Saturday May 16th, 2020, about 140 nautical miles south of the Lagos Fairway Buoy, would be the first to be tried under the new Anti-Piracy law known as the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari last year.

The fishing trawler was taken by pirates on Friday, May 15, 2020 in the Ivorian exclusive economic zone with 18 crew members aboard – eight Chinese, seven Ivorian and three Ghanaian.

Speaking during the presentation of the pirates to the press, the Legal Adviser to NIMASA, Mr. Victor Egejuru said, “We have just witnessed the parading of pirates. This is as a result of the robust collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy. There has been a lot of synergy between NIMASA and the Navy with regards the suppression of piracy and other related maritime offences.”

“I want to seize the opportunity to thank President Buhari for signing the anti-piracy law which would enable us sufficiently prosecute these pirates.”

Egejuru assured that with the anti-piracy law, there is sufficient legal framework to prosecute pirates and other perpetuators of maritime offences in the country, noting that the menace would be curbed to the barest minimum.

Recall that the SPOMO Act was sponsored by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, when he was the agency’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

Giving details of the operation, the Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima said: “On May 15, 2020, a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II was attacked by pirates off the coast of Cote D’ Viore. The pirates took control of the vessel and directed the vessel towards Nigerian waters. The vessel has 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanians and Ivorians. The Nigerian Navy was alerted of the pirate attack and immediately, the Nigerian Navy NGURU was dispatched to intercept the vessel.”

“On interception of the vessel, the pirates refused to comply to the orders of the Navy ship, hence the Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel. All ship crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were also arrested.”

According to the Naval Commodore, the arrest was bolstered by vital Intel from Beninous Navy, hence, he stressed the need for continuous regional cooperation in terms of information sharing.

Shettima warned pirates that the Nigerian Navy is equiped and committed to the vendetta against pirates to thwart their illicit operations on the seas.

Shettima also thanked the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas and the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Bamidele Daji for their exemplary leadership.

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