EMMANUEL DZESSE, a Ghanaian fisherman, has been reported dead and three other fishermen missing after a Chinese fishing vessel was hijacked by pirates near Takoradi in the Western Region.
The deceased was said to have been stabbed severally by the pirates when they seized the fishing boat, Lu Rong Yuan 917 , which had a crew of 22 Ghanaians and six Chinese on board.
Identities of the missing three were given as Daniel Oppong, Kwao Yankson and Isaac Bentsil, who allegedly dived into the high seas in Togo, together with other fishermen, for fear of their lives when the boat was glided to the neighbouring country.
The corpse of Emmanuel has been deposited at a mortuary in Togo, pending autopsy and transfer to Ghana for burial.
Two pump action guns, 10 locally made explosives, two navigation charts covering the coast of Benin and Tema, 65 live ammunitions, two cigarettes, torchlight, lighter and a handbag which contained the explosives were retrieved by the navy after the pirates had abandoned the boat somewhere in Nigerian territorial waters last Tuesday.
The pirates were reported to have made away with an unspecified amount of money, personal effects, laptop computers and mobile phones, among other items.
The Commanding Officer of the Ghana Navy Ships, Lt. Commander Victor Fianko, explained that the Ghana Navy last Saturday received information about loss of signal of the fishing boat by their Chinese counterpart in Ghana.
Ghana Navy, he said, liaised with the Eastern Naval Command in Tema which rapidly dispatched personnel to the high seas.
According to him, the boat, which was hijacked on January 28, 2015 somewhere in Takoradi, sailed to Togo, with the crew having been taken hostage by the pirates.
Apart from Emmanuel Dzesse, the commanding officer disclosed that three of the Ghanaian fishermen were noticed to have gone missing on the Togo high seas after a head count was conducted in that country.
He said the pirates did not relent as they further floated the Chinese fishing boat towards Nigeria where they abandoned it with four crew members on board.
According to him, the navy then sent a dispatch team to the eastern border of Ghana where the vessel was intercepted and returned to the Tema port on February 4, 2015 at about 9:00 pm.
He claimed that the Ghana Navy was collaborating with their Togolese counterparts to search for the three missing crew members.
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Sung Boahong, and representatives from the Ghana Navy, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, Chinese enterprises in Ghana and the Chinese community in the country received the boat at the Tema port.
It will be recalled that on January 18, some eight Nigerian pirates were arrested by the Ghana Navy for hijacking an oil vessel in Nigerian waters and drifted into Ghanaian waters before they were arrested by the navy.
The Nigerian pirates are currently being prosecuted in Ghana, having been remanded into prison custody by a court in Accra.
From Vincent Kubi, Tema
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