The Nigerian Navy (NN) has rescued the hijacked Motor Tanker (MT) MONJASA REFORMER with 10 crew off the Island of Principe.
The Director of Information, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan announced the operation in a statement on Tuesday.
The REFORMER with IMO number 9255878 was attacked and boarded by pirates on March 25 at about 22:39 UTC.
The vessel was in position 05:29.35 South – 009:34.00 East, around 144 nautical miles (nm) West-South-West of Pointe-Noire, Congo.
While about 95nm off the Etame Terminal, the pirates, using a skiff closed up, boarded the tanker and held 16 crew hostage.
The Navy dispatched special forces after it was contacted by the West Africa Regional Maritime Security Centre (CRESMAO) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Ayo-Vaughan said the REFORMER was tracked in spite of the pirates’ disabling of the Automatic Identification System and communication set onboard.
The vessel departed Amsterdam and arrived in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) on February 14 after stops at Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo and Gabon for petroleum products trade.
The Navy vectored the NNS GONGOLA to intercept the tanker 76nm off the Island of Principe, near Nigeria’s maritime environment.
“The pirates had disembarked with six crew to an unknown destination while underway in the Sao Tome and Principe Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“The Nigerian Navy deployed NNS KANO in company of the French Offshore Patrol Vessel to escort the vessel to Lome, Togo,” Ayo-Vaughan noted.
The NN collaborated with French Navy Ship, PREMIER-MAÎTRE L’HER, which was on patrol within the GoG under the Coordinated Maritime Presence arrangement.