Navy Chases Pirates –


The Ghana Navy
is in hot pursuit of pirates who hijacked a vessel from the Tema anchorage and
proceeded towards Togolese waters but abandoned the operation midway.

The Officer
Commanding the Eastern Naval Command Commodore, James Kontoh, said this shortly
after a Ghana Navy operation rescued five persons, one of them a Ghanaian, from
the abandoned vessel.

Some of the
hijacked persons were beaten by their abductors before being abandoned aboard
the vessel.

Kontoh said collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and their Ghanaian
counterparts is on. He said this is a measure which would go a long way in
thwarting the activities of pirates.

The daredevil
hijack mission started with a fishing vessel going missing from the Tema
anchorage, having been taken away by the suspected Nigerian pirates who
abandoned it later on the Keta high seas.

The hijackers
had planned having the tuna vessel head for Bayelsa State in Nigeria but abandoned
the idea due to fuel shortage.

A traumatized crew member found
aboard the abandoned vessel was taken to a health facility for attention.

The tuna vessel with official No.
316694 and registration  AFT28 had docked
at Berth 10 at the Port of Tema and found on board by the Navy were live rounds,
among other items.

The rescue mission was preceded
by a series of information by the Navy about vessels coming under attack by
pirates – a situation which DAILY GUIDE gathered prompted the
Ghana Navy to raise its alert level.

“For the past 48 hours, we have
had a series of attacks which we tried to unravel. It all happened Monday dawn
about 03:30 when a speed boat came to the Tema anchorage area and forcefully
took over a vessel and started heading towards the Togolese waters until the
vessel complained of not having enough fuel to continue the journey,” Commodore
Kontoh said.

In a sequence of events, the
hijackers let go the first vessel and descended upon a tanker vessel. The
hijackers transferred three persons from the first vessel
to the second one. There was shortage of fuel and so their order for the vessel
to head for Bayelsa in Nigeria was abandoned. They then turned to a fishing
vessel and took two crew members including the first three into the fishing
vessel and proceeded towards Benin waters close to Nigerian waters.

When night fell, the hijackers
moved their kidnapped persons into their speed boats and headed for an unknown
location, the Navy officer narrated.

It was after the hijackers had left that the fishing vessel sent a signal about their situation when the Navy sent a team to save the distressed crew.

By A.R. Gomda