8 Nigerian pirates arrested

The Ghana Navy on Saturday arrested eight Nigerian pirates who hijacked an oil vessel.

The navy swooped on armed pirates some 26 nautical miles South East of the Tema waters, after they had hijacked the Nigerian vessel, Mt Mariam, carrying about 1,500 tonnes of crude oil.

They are Molih Williams, 32, Peggy Aki, 32, Ebi Yaibo Amos, 32, Molih Klinsman, 31, David Jacob, 30, Ayetimiyi Oyinle, 29, Pinano Saniyo 26 and Picolo John.

Mt Mariam was travelling from Nigeria to Togo when it was attacked by the pirates on Friday.

Briefing journalists at Tema after the operation on Saturday, the Lieutenant Commander Michael Duvor, Commanding Officer on Ghana Navy Ship (GNS) Blika, said five of the pirates were captured in the engine room, while three others were found at the forecastle of the ship.

Items found on them included four AK47 assault rifles, a pump action gun, ten loaded magazines, and amounts of 1,270 US dollars and 43,850 Naira.

Other items included18 mobile phones, a digital camera, a hair clipper, three radio hand held VHF radio, seven wrist watches and other personal belongings.

He said his team received information at 8:05am from the Eastern Naval Command on Saturday while on patrols, that a ship owner had reported that pirates had hijacked his ship carrying oil and were suspected to have offloaded the goods, and planning to use the vessel for other criminal activities.

His team, he said proceeded to the location and managed to catch up with MT Mariam at 11:40am, and after a search, all the eight pirates were arrested by 3 pm.

Lieutenant Duvor said all nine crew members on board the MT Mariam, who were found traumatized, were safe, adding that the pirates would be handed over to the police for further investigation and prosecution.

The operation, which was under the coordination of Lieutenant Commander Theophilus Kafui Agbemabiese, Operations Officer for the Eastern Naval Command, recorded no casualty.

Mr. Sunday Nakase, Chief Executive of Maxweir Limited, the Nigerian company operating MT Mariam, also told journalists that he immediately alerted the Navy of the attack after a crew member gave him a signal.

The Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive has described the Navy’s operation as “impressive,” and an indication of their competence to ensure security in Ghana’s waters.

From Dzifa Tetteh,Tema.

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