Spanish Navy rescues Nigerian vessel from pirates

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The Spanish Navy’s offshore patrol vessel Serviola has rescued the crew of a Nigerian-flagged vessel in the Gulf of Guinea from pirates, who had held the crew hostage.

The Spanish Navy on 10 April said the Serviola was on a routine maritime security patrol mission on 9 April when she detected strange movements and odd behaviour by the merchant ship, also spotting a small craft nearby. When the ship did not answer the calls from the Serviola, a military detachment was sent to investigate and conduct a VBS (Visit, Board and Search) mission.

During the approach, the Serviola detected the small craft leaving the area at great speed and then received a call from the Nigerian ship informing that they had been hijacked for the last four days. The presence of the patrol boat forced the pirates to abandon the ship and flee.

The merchant ship’s captain also informed the Spanish marines that they were unable to answer the initial calls as they were being threatened with AK-47 assault rifles and grenade launchers. The pirates robbed all the money and valuable objects they had as well as their provisions before leaving the ship.

The Serviola gave them enough food and water for a few days and continued with her patrol duties, while the Nigerian merchant vessel headed towards the nearest port of Lagos.