Two Ghanaian fishing vessel crew feared dead in pirate attack

TWO crew members of a Ghanaian registered fishing vessel reported missing during an attack on the vessel a year ago have still not been found, and therefore, presumed dead by the Ghana Navy.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear-Admiral Geoffrey Mawuli Biekro, who revealed this in Accra on Tuesday at the Second Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa Conference and Defence Exhibition 2015, did not disclose the nationality of the victims.

He said there were series of pirate attacks from Angola to Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana last year, within the Gulf of Guinea, resulting in casualties.

“In one such attack quite recently, a Ghanaian registered fishing vessel was hijacked and moved across borders all the way to Nigeria. By the time the vessel was released, one crew member was confirmed dead while two are still missing at sea and presumed dead,” he stated.

“Criminals in the sub-region have taken advantage of our ill-defined international maritime borders to commit crimes in one country and immediately move into other country’s territorial waters to escape arrest,” Rear-Admiral Biekro disclosed further.

Consequent upon this tactical and sophisticated move of the pirates regarding commission of crime, the Chief of Naval Staff said it was incumbent on the naval forces and other security agencies to employ the modern technique in crime combat to nip piracy, which has become a canker, in the bud.

“While we have scored some successes against the pirates, we cannot afford to rest on our oars. We have to show commitment and dedication to duty by constantly stepping ahead of the criminals.

“This conference is therefore one of the initiatives we are taking to help naval forces in our region and beyond to share ideas and harmonise our strategies to deal with our common enemy,” he stressed.

Commodore Seth Amoana, Chief Staff Officer at the Naval Headquarters, one of the resource persons, said Special Boats Units would be set up for hostage rescue, as well as such other operations as illegal fishing, drugs and arms trafficking, among others.

He said the Ghana Navy has over the past years, recorded high attrition, as a result of poor service conditions but with the support of the government and the Military High Command, the situation has improved to ensure the retention of the naval personnel.

By Castro Zangina-Tong    

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