Pirates attempt to hijack tanker off Nigeria

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Two pirates were killed by onboard security when they attempted to hijack a tanker off the coast of Lagos last month.

According to This Day, the vessel was hijacked around 120 nautical miles offshore, en route from Port Harcourt to Lagos, by eight heavily armed pirates in two speedboats.

The managers of the ship, Medallion Reederei, in a statement said the vessel was attacked on April 29. One of the crewmembers suffered fatal injuries while another suffered minor injuries. Two of the pirates died in crossfire with security guards on board the vessel, the company said.

The crew and armed guards retreated into the ship’s citadel after the attackers boarded the vessel, but two of the 17 crew were unable to reach the citadel. The next morning the security guards searched the ship and discovered the pirates had left.

A Nigerian Navy vessel came to assist the petroleum products tanker on April 30. SP Brussels then proceeded under its own power to the port of Lagos, Medallion Reederei said.

The SP Brussels has previously been the victim of maritime crime off Nigeria. In December 2012 pirates attacked and looted the vessel off the Niger Delta, taking five crewmembers hostage in the process. The kidnapped crew was released in January 2013.

Maritime crime is a large problem off the coat of Nigeria, with pirates often robbing vessels or hijacking them for their cargoes. On May 13, two robbers boarded an anchored tanker off Port Harcourt and took two crew hostage before releasing them after stealing cargo.

Earlier this month Chief of Naval Staff(CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibril, said the Nigerian Navy has impounded about 38 ships involved in criminal activities since his assumption of office in January this year. Eight of the ships were Chinese fishing vessels illegally fishing in Nigerian waters.



Jibril said the government was committed to supporting the Navy by providing equipment and support. He noted that the first of two offshore patrol vessels ordered from China will be delivered in August and the second sometime next year.